The UN Secretary-general Antonio Guterres on Monday expressed profound sadness at the death of Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, the Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).
Guterres, in a statement, described Osotimehin as a colleague and a friend.
Guterres expressed condolences to the family of the deceased, the staff of UNFPA and the Nigerian Government.
“I am profoundly saddened by the sudden passing of my good colleague and friend, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin.
“I offer sincere condolences to his family, to the staff of UNFPA, to the Government and people of Nigeria, and to all those around the world touched by this loss.
“The world has lost a great champion of health and well-being for all.
“Dr Babatunde was admired globally for his leadership of the UN Population Fund and for his forceful advocacy for the world’s women and girls in particular,” Guterres said.
The UN chief explained that sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights were among the most important, and often sensitive, on the international agenda.
“Dr Babatunde’s calm yet ardent efforts helped families get the sexual and reproductive health services they need, and helped the world advance the landmark 1994 Cairo Programme of Action on Population and Development.
“His voice was invaluable over the years, including his time as Nigeria’s Minister of Health, in pressing for family planning, women’s education, children’s health and action on HIV/AIDS as vital ingredients in human progress.
“At this moment of sorrow, let us give thanks for Babatunde’s life of service,” Guterres said.
He 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 became the organisation’s fourth executive director.
He 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.