Metro Nigerians Mourn Dora Akunyili

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Nigerians on Saturday paid tributes to Prof. Dora Akunyili, a former Minister of Information, who died in an Indian hospital early in the day.

Akunyili, a former Director-General of National Agency for Food, Drugs and Administration and Control, died at the age of 59 in a Specialist Cancer Hospital in India.

In a statement announcing the death on behalf of the Akunyili family, a former Governor of Anambra, Mr Peter Obi, said Akunyili worked for a better Nigeria

``In spite her illness, she was unwavering in her belief in a better Nigeria. ...

``The last time I visited her in India, even when she needed all the prayers herself, she was full of concern for Chibok girls, security and other challenges facing the country...,’’ Obi wrote.

The Nigerian High Commissioner to India, Amb. Ndubuisi Amaku, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja by telephone that the former Information Minister died at 10 a.m.

``Dora Akunyili made a remarkable impact in the fight against fake and counterfeit drugs.

``I am pained like any other Nigerian that we lost a woman who was so dedicated to Nigeria.

``She was an uncommon woman who did everything to uphold the dignity of Nigeria in the health sector.

``She was a remarkable woman and figure and we will miss her so much,’’ Amaku said.

The high commissioner said he had already spoken with Dora’s husband, Chike, to express the Federal Government’s sympathy.

``I assured him that the Nigeria High Commission would render all necessary assistance to repatriate her remains home,’’ he said.

Dr Paul Orhii, the Director General of NAFDAC, in a statement, said: ``It was with shock but with total submission to the will of God that I received the sad news of the death of Prof. Dora Akunyili.

``She was a highly patriotic woman who deeply loved Nigeria and dedicated her entire life to the service of this great nation.

``May God the most merciful and most beneficent grant her eternal rest in perfect peace.’’

Orhii said Akunyili’s legacy would forever be remembered.

Sen. Chris Ngige described the death of Akunyili as a great shock.

``I received with great shock and sadness the news of the passing on of my sister, friend and schoolmate, Prof. Dora Nkem Akunyili.

``Her death is a tremendous blow and loss to her family as well as to Anambra, Nigeria, Africa and all humanity.

``Although Dora and I had a very spirited contest in 2011 for the Anambra Central Senatorial Seat into the 7th Senate of the National Assembly, she and I had been friends and very close.

``We were schoolmates at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN).

``She was studying Pharmacy and I, Medicine. Thus, our parts crossed often. Even back then, Dora competed fiercely with her pharmacy contemporaries and even more with those of us in the Faculty of Medicine.

``Her husband, Dr Chike Akunyili, was my senior in Medical School and a respected professional colleague.

``I had tried to help Dora secure an employment opportunity with the National Drug Enforcement Agency as an Executive.

``She was very good friends with my sisters, such that they vacationed together and spent nights at each other’s house and did female things together,’’ Ngige wrote.

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