Cancer: Obasanjo calls for government, private partnership

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By; NIYI OGUNGBOLA, Abeokuta.
The former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo  has called on well meaning Nigerians to partner credible philanthropic organizations, individuals in the war against cancer in the country.
He made the call in Abeokuta while delivering a paper at the special fund raising for the establishment of cancer awareness and diagnostic center, a public service initiative organised by Primus Torchbearer Abeokuta.
Obasanjo said his call was based on the medical reports that Nigeria would be having 21 million new cases of cancer with an attendant effect of 13 million deaths by year 2030.
He therefore appealed to the philanthropic organisations and governments across the country to support the course in order to avoid having such large cases of cancer in the country.
The former president, who spoke on the topic: “Philanthropy and Ethics; a Lesson from History”, as, the guest speaker at the event marking the 40th year anniversary of Primus Torchbearers’ appreciated the club philanthropic services to the Nigerian society.
 
With a specific mentioning of building, running and adequate maintenance of a cancer awareness and diagnostic center being championed by Primus Torchbearers in Abeokuta, the former president appealed to people of goodwill across the country to support what he described as “a worthy and commendable venture” such as the one organised by Primus Torchbearers.
 
He further emphasised that cancer diagnosis and treatments in most countries all over the world, has largely been supported by philanthropic organisations and charity since government alone cannot bear the burden of funding such treatments.
 
He noted with appreciation the contributions of notable Africans such as Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Sir Keshington Adebutu, Tony Elumelu, Jim Ovia as well as Strive Masiyiwa among others whose the philanthropic contributions in the war against cancer in Nigeria and Africa are of no small way helped in the detection of the dreaded cancer disease.
 
Chief Obasanjo also called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to by way of tax incentives, reach out to other rich Nigerians who are yet to identified with the war against cancer disease in order to encourage them to do so.
 
“I believe in the last ten years or so we have started getting Nigerians who had made money or that fortune had smiled on them and they have tried to show philanthropic gestures, people like Aliko Dangote, Tony Elumelu, Jim Ovia and Sir Kensington Adebutu among others”.
 
“Those that are doing, let us encourage them while those that are not doing, let us give them incentives to do it. The best thing of course is that they can deduct whatever they give as deductible from tax offices which we can by setting up a foundation and ask the ministry of finance to give you a tax relief on whatever you do”.
 
Earlier, President of Primus Torchbearers, Sir Soji Amusan had in his welcome address, stated that his organisation decided to establish the cancer awareness and diagnostic center as a way of providing an avenue for the less privileged to be educated on what to do as well as to have access to medical facilities for early detection of the dreaded cancer disease.

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