On Thursday June 12, 2015 over 300 individuals, international communities, and Nigerians in the diaspora, including guests from Atlanta’s Consular Community, Sir Emeka Offor Foundation, The Carter Center, Board of Councilors members, Government, Charities and Corporations of Nigeria were present at the Grant Signing Ceremony that took place at The Carter Center between the Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Philanthropist Sir Emeka Offor for a partnership to eliminate river blindness (onchocerciasis) in Nigeria.
Also, in attendance were other notable personalities such as Ambassador Teneilabe, Amb./Consul General of Nigeria, Atlanta, Ambassador Howard Jester, Former US Ambassador to Nigeria, Hon. Chudi Ofodile, Former member of the House of Rep, Nigeria, Adetokunbo Kayode (SAN), Former Minister of Defense, Nigeria, Hon. Ken Nnaman, Former Senate President, Nigeria, and members of the international press.
Prior to the signing, another ceremony was held on June 11, 2015 to honour Philanthropist Sir Emeka Offor as Honorary Citizenship of the State of Georgia by the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus of the Georgia Parliament, Rep. Dee Dawkins for his contributions in the fight against diseases in Africa and Nigeria which had impacted, positively on the lives of many Nigerians through his Foundation programmes and projects.
The grant support of $10 million by Sir Emeka from the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF) is the largest grant in Carter Center history given by an individual African donor to help facilitate treatment in previously uncovered areas in Nigeria, increase distribution of Mectizan from once a year to twice a year treatment and provide treatment as needed, specifically, in states like Abia, Imo, Anambra, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, and Enugu by 2020 in collaboration with the government.
In a press interview, the Former President stated that the grant will help to extend the reach of the Carter Center’s work in South East and South South Nigeria and help accelerate river blindness elimination throughout Nigeria where The Carter Center works with the Federal Ministry of Health, including Sir Emeka’s native home, Anambra State in Nigeria, West Africa.
“ I am deeply honored to work closely with The Carter Center, through the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation to help eliminate river blindness, ” said Sir Emeka Offor. “ Nigeria has more cases of river blindness than any other country in the world. Yet, we know that with adequate resources, hard work, and perseverance, we can defeat this terrible neglected disease that can steal a person’s ability to see the beauty of the world in which we live and to enjoy a full and active life.”
“ Today’s unprecedented donation from Sir Emeka Offor Foundation will allow us to ramp up the program and close in on elimination, impacting many more people in southern Nigeria. ” said Dr. Emmanuel Miri, Country Representative of The Carter Center. “With SEOF and the Nigerian government, we believe we can surpass the caliber of success we’ve already demonstrated and will meet the 2020 river blindness elimination target in the states where we work.”
His Excellency, Ambassador Geoffrey Teneilabe, expressed optimism about the project’s prospects to eliminate river blindness during a private dinner reception held on June 13, 2015 in his residence at Roswell, GA. He also, commended Sir Emeka Offor for his commitment in the fight against diseases in Nigeria, urging him to continue the good work.
Since 1996, The Carter Center has assisted the Nigerian Ministry of Health in nine states to fight river blindness through community-based health education, Merck and its Mectizan Donation Program; the World Health Organization (WHO) and the WHO-World Bank African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC); the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation; the Lions Clubs International Foundation; the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID); RTI International; the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Mr. John J. Moores; the former River Blindness Foundation; The Margaret A. Cargill Foundation; Mr. and Mrs. Henry McConnon; the A. G. Leventis Foundation; and many other generous donors and partners.
SIR EMEKA OFFOR FOUNDATION
The Sir Emeka Offor Foundation is a philanthropic organization based in Oraifite, Anambra State, Nigeria. The Foundation seeks to alleviate the suffering of the less privileged through philanthropy, and focuses primarily on giving support and hope to those in need irrespective of tribe, creed, religion and nation. The Foundation has affected the lives of many Nigerians through its domestic programs and projects which include youth empowerment, widows cooperative, education, health service and infrastructure development. For more information, visit: http://sireofforfoundation.org/