By Prudence Arobani
No fewer than 100 countries have condoled Nigeria over the passing away of the late Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin.
Osotimehin died on Sunday night in New York at the age of 68.
Nigeria’s Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the condolences had come in from the majority of the 193 UN Member States.
According to him, he has been receiving condolences from Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives of Missions since the sad demise of Osotimehin.
The Nigerian envoy commended the outpouring of the messages, saying it was a supportive gesture to Nigeria as the country mourned the outstanding legacy of the late UNFPA chief.
Muhammad-Bande also said that the gesture by was a testimony to the distinguished service of the late UN Under-Secretary-General to humanity.
Osotimehin was appointed on Nov. 19, 2010, as the Executive Director of UNFPA for a four-year term and assumed the position on Jan. 1, 2011.
He was reappointed to the position on Aug. 21, 2014, to become the organisation’s fourth executive director.
The deceased, until his death, held the rank of Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Osotimehin served previously as Nigeria’s minister of health between Dec. 17, 2008, and March 10, 2010.
Muhammad-Bande expressed the condolences of the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN, to the family.
He described the late Osotimehin as an accomplished and distinguished professional who made Nigeria proud during the period he served at the UN.
According to him, Osotimehin’s death is an irreparable loss not only to Nigeria but to the UN and the entire global community.
The Nigerian ambassador later signed the Condolence Register opened at the residence of the late UNFPA chief.
Muhammad-Bande was accompanied on the condolence visit by the Head of Chancery of the Permanent Mission, Dr Cyprian Heen.