The Nasarawa State Governor Umaru Al-Makura has pledged to partner with the Yakubu Gowon Foundation to fight and eliminate malaria in the state.
Al-Makura made the pledge when former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon led the foundation on a courtesy visit on him in Lafia.
He paid tribute to Gowon for fighting to keep Nigeria united during the civil war and for collaborating with the Carter Foundation after leaving public service, to eradicate guinea worm.
The governor said that Gowon’s past antecedents in service to the nation was enough motivation to spur the state to synergise with the foundation and other stakeholders to eliminate malaria.
“I consider Yakubu Gowon as the father of new Nigeria. This is a war that needs our support and cooperation.
“With the support that all of us are ready to give him, you will be surprised that it is a war he will win,” Al-Makura said.
He said the state would embark on rigorous sensitisation campaign on proper usage of mosquito nets and work with stakeholders on reduction of communicable diseases.
“We have been working in synergy with members of the National Programme on Malaria and we have also decided to embark on weekly sanitation exercises that will commence soon,” he said.
Al-Makura praised Gowon for supporting projects that were not materialistic, adding that his contribution to the eradication of guinea worm had saved lives.
Earlier, Gowon said he had joined the Carter Center to fight against guinea worm and malaria, hence the visit to solicit support against malaria in Nasarawa.
“I was moved and determined to join the center and collaborate with the ministry of health to fight guinea worm.
“But, we could not have succeeded if the people had not cooperated. We are here today to ask you to help us get rid of some of these tropical diseases,” he said.
Gowon said apart from malaria, other diseases such as Elephantiasis and River Blindness posed great threat to the well-being of Nigerians.
He stressed the need for a proactive step to eradicate the diseases.
“If Alexander the great was killed by that tiny insect called mosquito, you can see how dangerous mosquito is.
“Let us do everything to help Nigeria rid itself of the scourge. Let us support our leadership to improve our well-being,’’ he said.
Dr Jacob Abimuku, Permanent Secretary, Nasarawa State Ministry of Health, said that “guinea worm is a forgotten scourge’’ courtesy of Yakubu Gowon.
“He tirelessly traveled to Nasarawa and all parts of the country where there was this scourge. After fighting and defeating guinea worm, he is now fighting malaria,” he said. (NAN)