Polio-free status: Buhari praises Merkel, Osinbajo, Sultan, others

President Muhammadu Buhari has written world and partners to appreciate their support towards helping Nigeria attain a Wild Polio Virus (WPV) free status, pledging that his administration sustain the momentum and strengthen the care system.

Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to the president (media & publicity) who disclosed in a statement Friday also revealed that Buhari also commended Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Presidential Taskforce on Polio Eradication, and his team, for making Nigeria proud and saving her from the scourge of poliomyelitis.

‘‘ is to express profound appreciation for your leadership of the Presidential Taskforce on Polio Eradication and Routine Immunization.

‘‘The declaration of Nigeria as a Wild Polio free country is the result of your effective of the Nigerian Polio eradication program through the Presidential Taskforce on Polio Eradication and Routine Immunization, Federal Ministry of and the National Care Development Agency.

‘‘Please extend my personal appreciation to all members of the Presidential Taskforce on Polio Eradication for making Nigeria proud and saving her from the scourge of Poliomyelitis.

‘‘I urge the Taskforce under your leadership to sustain especially in mobilizing State Governors to provide the needed oversight and resources to sustain the momentum and strengthen the health care system by improving routine immunization, maternal, newborn and child health services.

‘‘I urge you to sustain the momentum as I look forward to us leveraging on the polio infrastructure and experience to drive other health interventions,’’ the President wrote in the letter to Prof Osinbajo.

The President also wrote a separate letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, thanking the European country for decades of financial support to Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI) programme in Nigeria through KfW.

‘‘Please be assured that my Government will remain committed and focused to ensuring the needed resources will be provided to sustain the momentum and strengthen the system of great Country,’’ the President said in his letter to Chancellor Merkel.

President Buhari also thanked traditional and religious , who through their leadership built community trust for the polio programme thereby increasing acceptance and ensuring all eligible are reached with the polio vaccine.

Specifically, he wrote Alhaji Muhammad Saad III, Sultan of Sokoto, the leadership of Jama’atul-Nasirl Islam (JNI) and the President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

The President also wrote separate letters of appreciation to Bill Gates, the European Union, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization, Dr. Robert R. Redfield, Director, U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Henrietta Fore, Executive Director, United Nations Children’s Fund, David Malpass,  President, World Bank Group and John Barsa, Acting Administrator, United States Agency for International Development.

 Others are, Global Affairs Canada, Shinichi Kitaoka, President, International Cooperation Agency, and the International President, Rotary International.

President Buhari also appreciated the support of Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Aliko Dangote Foundation,  Sir (Dr) Emeka Offor and Governor Kayode Fayemi, in his capacity as the , Nigerian Governors Forum.