By Prudence Arobani
The U.S. Government on Tuesday joined more than 100 countries to mourn the death of Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, the Executive Director of UN Population Fund (UNFPA).
The U.S. Department of State, in a statement by Heather Nauert, the Department’s Spokesperson, described Osotimehin as “a tireless advocate for the health of women and girls.”
Osotimehin died on Sunday night in New York at the age of 68 years.
The Department stated that “we join the international community in mourning the passing of Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, the Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).
“During his six and a half year tenure at the helm of UNFPA, Dr Babatunde was a tireless advocate for the health of women and girls.
“He pressed for stronger, more affordable and accessible maternal health and reproductive health care services for millions of women in developing world.
“We send our deepest condolences to Dr Osotimehin’s family and colleagues at UNFPA and throughout the UN system.”
The U.S. Mission to the UN had earlier issued a statement mourning the late UNFPA boss.
The mission noted that “we are saddened to learn of the passing of Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA.
“We send our prayers and heartfelt condolences to his family and staff of UNFPA.
“We are grateful for Dr Osotimehin’s many years of service, dedicated to improving global health.
“His leadership made a difference in the lives of so many around the world.”
Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, Nigeria’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN, had told a correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that no fewer than 100 countries had sent messages of condolences over Osotimehin’s demise.
According to him, he received condolence messages from ambassadors, permanent representatives of missions since the sad news of Osotimehin’s demise on Monday.
The two-term UNFPA chief, who died on Sunday night in New York at the age of 68 years, was previously Nigeria’s Minister of Health.
He was also a one-time Director-General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), which coordinated HIV and AIDS work in Nigeria.