Dangote demands probe of Kano polio vaccine funds

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CAPE TOWNSOUTH AFRICA, 06MAY11 - Aliko Dangote, President and Chief Executive Officer, Dangote Group, Nigeria, during the African Fellowship Programe with Young Global Leaders announcement at the World Economic Forum on Africa 2011 held in Cape Town, South Africa, 4-6 May 2011.

Aliko Dangote, the chairman of Dangote Foundation and Africa’s leading businessman, has requested the Kano state government to audit funds donated to it for polio immunization.

Speaking in a video conference held at the Kano Government House, Dangote said the state government should also involve external auditors to verify the probe report which must be ready by March 31.

“All expenditure in (the) exercise must be verified by external auditors and the report tendered (to all the parties involved in the immunization agreement), by the end of March 31, he said at the conference, which also included Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, his Kaduna state counterpart, Nasir Elrufai, Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates and officials of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).

Dangote, who is Africa’s leading businessman, also advised the state government to work hard in obtaining “quality-assured data” during vaccine exercises “because of its significance in decision making”.

Responding, Mr. Ganduje said “although milestones have been recorded recently in immunization (exercise) in the state, which hitherto was the Chief Host of Polio, Kano state government would emphasize public enlightenment and cooperation with religious and traditional leaders to make the set goal achievable”.

He pledged to focus more on data collection and thanked Dangote Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other donor agencies for supporting Kano to improve on immunization, maternal and child health.

Similarly, Mr. Gates called on Kano and Kaduna states to maintain the vigour with which they fight against polio, saying only determination could end the disease.

Emphasizing the need for accountability in managing donor funds for immunization, Gates advised the states to promptly release funds to effectively conduct the exercise.

Equally, Mr. Elrufai, who promised to promptly release the audited reports of immunization in his state, also suggested the use of “scientific devices” in generating accurate and comprehensive data for vaccination and other  development purposes.

Recall that the Kano state government had entered into a 3-year agreement with both Dangote Foundation and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2012 on immunization. The agreement was renewed for one more year after its expiration in 2015.

On its part, Kaduna state government signed a similar agreement with the two foundations a year ago.

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