President Muhammadu Buhari says he has fulfilled his pledge to eradicate the wild polio-virus from Nigeria.
He made the statement as the World Health Organisation declared Nigeria and the rest of Africa polio-free, on Tuesday, via an online event across the continent and beyond.
Speaking at the event, Buhari who has been president since he assumed office in 2015, said he made a promise to Nigerians that he would not hand over a polio-ridden Nigeria to his successor, adding that he has fulfilled the promise.
“This is indeed a truly historic event. I recall shortly after assuming office in 2015, I made a pledge to Nigerians that I would not bequeath a polio-endemic country to my successor.
“This certification is, therefore, a personal fulfillment of that pledge, not only to Nigerians but to all Africans,” President Buhari said.
Speaking further, Buhari congratulated Africa and the African Union leadership for crossing the finish line.
“At a time when the global community is battling with the COVID-19 pandemic, this achievement strengthens my conviction that the requisite political will, investments, and strategies, as well as citizens’ commitment, will flatten the pandemic curve.
“I can affirm the commitment of all African leaders in this course of action. We must guard this achievement jealously and ensure that we take all necessary steps to prevent the resurgence of this deadly disease”.
The president also appreciated the strong partnership and collaboration displayed to deliver the success.
He promised the global community that Nigeria will “sustain the momentum and leverage on the lessons learnt from the polio eradication to strengthen our health systems, especially primary healthcare and prioritise health security”.
Dignitaries at the event include WHO officials, Director, US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Redfield; Chairperson, Africa Regional Certification Commission, Rose Leke; CEO, GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, Seth Berkley and some polio survivors.