JUNE 6, 2017 – The UN has opened a condolence register in honour of the late Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, the Executive Director of UN Population Fund (UNFPA) who died in his home in New York Sunday night at the age of 68.
The UN Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ms Amina Mohammed, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, was among those who signed the register on Monday.
Mohammed signed the register at exactly 3 p.m. at the UN Headquarters in New York, expressing her condolences to the family of the deceased, the staff of UNFPA and the Nigerian Government.
The Nigeria’s Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande had earlier signed the register.
Muhammad-Bande, who expressed shock, said he and the late Osotimehin were together on Friday.
The Nigerian envoy regretted that Nigeria had lost an accomplished and distinguish citizen adding, the UN has also lost a dedicated top official.
NAN reports that UN Secretary-General António Guterres, and the President of the UN General Assembly, Peter Thomson, were also expected to sign the condolence register later.
Many well-wishers have also continued to register their condolences since it was opened at 1 p.m.
Many staff of UNFPA who were at the venue, wore sad looks mourning the sudden death of their Executive Director.
UN’s Registrar and Chief of Protocol, Peter Laere, who was on hand to receive Mohammed, said the opening of the condolence register was in honour of Osotimehin’s distinguished service to the UN.
Laere said messages had been sent out to all countries’ Permanent Missions and Representatives about Osotimehin’s demise and the Condolence Register.
He added that a broadcast message had also been sent to all UN staff in New York on the incident and the signing of the condolence register.
According to him, the condolence register was also an opportunity for the leadership, friends, colleagues and the entire UN community to register their memory of the late UNFPA chief.
Before this appointment, the late UNFPA chief was Nigeria’s Minister of Health.
Prior to that, he was Director-General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), which coordinated HIV and AIDS work in Nigeria.
Osotimehin qualified as a doctor from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, in 1972, and went to the University of Birmingham, England, where he got a doctorate in medicine in 1979.
He was appointed Professor at the University of Ibadan in 1980 and headed the Department of Clinical Pathology before being elected Provost of the College of Medicine in 1990.
Osotimehin received the Nigerian national honour of Officer of the Order of the Niger in December 2005. He led several councils, including in the World Economic Forum.
Osotimehin was married, had five children and several grandchildren.