*As FG promises to collaborate with centre
By Amgbare Ekaunkumo, Yenagoa
Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, former Presidents Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, and former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar have commended Governor Seriake Dickson for the bold initiative for establishing a Cancer centre to fight cancer scourge.
They spoke at the official launch of the Henry Seriake Dickson Foundation and ground breaking ceremony of the Goldcoast Dickson Cancer Centre at Toru Orua, Sagbama local government area of Bayelsa state.
In a statement by Governor Dickson’s Special Adviser on Media Relations, Fidelis Soriwei said, the nation’s leaders also lauded the Governor for the giant steps to fight cancer by laying emphasis on early detection and treatment.
Speaking as Special Guest of Honour, President Buhari described the establishment of the centre as a step in the right direction, stressing that it will help to prevent avoidable deaths and pledged to support it.
Represented by the former Minister for Labour and Productivity and Minister-Designate, Dr. Chris Ngige noted with delight the efforts of the governor geared towards preventing cancer spread, saying that the federal government is determined to collaborate with the centre.
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”.
Speaking as Chairman of the occasion, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (Rtd), described the establishment of the centre as a laudable effort, adding it is a philanthropic gesture worthy of support by all well meaning Nigerians and urged all to donate generously to the cause.
He stressed that Nigeria was in dire need for a well coordinated and planned action against the disease that is currently threatening the survival of communities in the country.
Also former President of the country, Chief Olusegun 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 stated that 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.
“When you see what cancer does, particular of the excruciating pain the sufferer goes through, you would want to do everything and anything to comfort those who are victims and that is exactly what you are doing.
“Cancer can be managed when if it is diagnosed early. The second thing you say your foundation will be doing is what i call, institutional memory, one of the things we are very bad in our country. Keep and maintain records and let the accessible for those who want to do research or do information.
On his part, former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan who pledged the support of his foundation, agreed that cancer had become a big problem in society, stressing the need for collaborative efforts in curbing the disease.
He said that in spite of the availability of resources and the desire to fight the disease, he painfully watched his aide die because the disease was diagnosed at an advanced stage.
In his remarks at the occasion, Governor Seriake Dickson expressed thanks to President Buhari and other leaders for coming to honour the first anniversary of his mother’s death.
While sharing fond memories of his mother, the governor said the foundation would among other things, carry out research work aimed at early diagnosis and treatment.
Governor Dickson who noted that the foundation is part of his efforts to continually contribute to the wellbeing of humanity, urged all to donate time, skills and funds to ensure the success of the project.