Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
President Muhammadu Buhari, former presidents, Olusegun Obasanjo, Goodluck Jonathan, and former head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar have advocated concerted action against the spread of cancer in the country.
They spoke, yesterday, at the official launch of Henry Seriake Dickson Foundation and ground-breaking ceremony of the Goldcoast Dickson Cancer Centre at Toru Orua, Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
A statement by his Special Adviser on Media Relations, Fidelis Soriwei, said they all commended Governor Dickson for taking the initiative to fight cancer through emphasis on early detection and treatment and pledged to support the foundation.
Represented by Minister designate, Chris Ngige, President Buhari described the establishment of the centre as a step in the right direction and promised to support it.
He said the centre could be the nucleus of a major health institution to save millions of lives and urged Governor Dickson not to be deterred from his vision.
His words: “The president congratulates you on the step you have taken to set up the Henry Seriake Dickson Foundation to operate the Goldcoast Dickson Cancer Centre, and he describes it as a step in the right direction.
“The president also says the Federal Government is doing a lot in the effort to prevent cancer, and wishes to inform you that the Federal Government will readily collaborate with centres like yours.
Chairman on the occasion, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd), described the effort as a wonderful philanthropic gesture that is worthy of support and appealed to all to donate generously to the cause.
He stressed that Nigeria was in an urgent need for a well-coordinated action against the disease.
Also, Obasanjo praised Governor Dickson for honouring his mother with the setting up of the cancer centre, which he noted would go a long way in checking the killer disease.
Obasanjo said only those who had come into close contacts with victims of cancer and the traumatic experience would know the magnitude of the pain, anguish and misery being inflicted on the society.
On his part, Jonathan said cancer had become a big problem in the society andstressed the need for collaborative efforts in curbing the disease.
He recalled how the dreaded disease killed his special adviser on Strategy and Documentation, and renowned environmentalist, Oronto Douglas.
In his remarks, Dickson thanked President Buhari and other leaders for joining him in honouring the first anniversary of the passage of his mother.