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Nigeria: Polio-Free Nigeria – Gates, Dangote, Others Hail Achievement

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Billionaire philanthropists Bill Gates and Aliko Dangote have hailed the declaration of Nigeria by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as being polio-free.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the global health body on Tuesday certified Nigeria and the rest of Africa polio-free.

The WHO Africa Regional Certification Commission (ARCC) said the major milestone was achieved four years after the last recorded cases of wild polio in the country.

In a tweet, Mr Gates said that the remarkable achievement was a step closer to global polio eradication.

“Today, we move one step closer toward a world without polio. This is an incredible milestone that’s worth celebrating. It is also an important reminder of what can be accomplished when we work together toward a common goal,” he wrote on his Twitter handle @BillGates.

In his remarks, Africa’s richest man, Mr Dangote, said that the polio-free Africa was an indication that the fight to end polio globally was possible.

“Today we celebrate a polio-free Africa, the result of decades of vaccination, hard work, collaboration. Tomorrow we get back to work, to ensure wild polio does not come back. Together, we all can #EndPolio globally,” he tweeted.

The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, tweeted via his official Twitter account @antonioguterres, that the declaration filled him with optimism that a lot could be achieved through global efforts.

“Africa has been declared free of polio today.

“This historic milestone fills me with hope and optimism.

“We can achieve so much when we work together as a global community.”

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Board Chair, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), felicitated President Muhammadu Buhari and his predecessors.

“A great day for #Nigeria and #Africa. Nigeria receives polio-free Certificate from @WHO.

“Africa declared #PolioFree. Congratulations Nigerians on this great achievement. Congrats to President @MBuhari, President @GEJonathan, President Obasanjo, PHDA, @Gavi, @gatesfoundation,” she tweeted via @NOIweala

A virologist at the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Olubusuyi Adewumi, who lauded the historic achievement, said Africa had indeed successfully eradicated the wild polio virus.