Former Minister of Information, Professor Dora Akunyili, was on Saturday night flown to India for an “urgent treatment” of her undisclosed medical condition.
A family source told TheCable that the former director-general of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has fallen seriously ill again after returning from a trip to France.
“We would rather this was not reported at all because these are trying times for us, but because she is a public figure it would be very difficult to keep it out of the media,” the source said.
The nature of her ailment has still not been made public, but unconfirmed reports say it is cervical cancer.
The professor of pharmacy is a member of the National Conference.
Her appearance at the early session of the confab was the first time the public was seeing her current physical state.
She has lost weight dramatically, but she said in a statement at the time that her doctors had given her the all clear to return to normal activities.
She responded to public concerns on her facebook page thus:
“I AM WELL, FIT AND READY FOR THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE
My Dear Friends,
My attention has been drawn to a story making the rounds online claiming that I am seriously sick, currently out of the country and in need of urgent prayers.
This story is baseless, unfounded and the handiwork of mischief makers. It should be ignored and discarded in its entirety. As every informed Nigerian knows, I am a Delegate to the National Conference currently holding in Abuja. I was duly accredited as a Delegate and I am currently in attendance at the National Judicial Institute, Abuja, venue of the conference.
While it is true that I recently came out of a major sickness, for which I thank Almighty God for delivering me, I have since been declared fit by my doctors and returned to my normal activities. I shed much weight in the course of the sickness – which is normal – but I am well now and only need time to re-grow some flesh. There is nothing to worry about either my health or my present stature.
I know that God has kept me alive for a purpose, this National Conference being part of that purpose. For the avoidance of doubt, I am well now, fit, strong enough and ready for this all-important National Conference and I look forward to collaborating with other delegates to chart the way for a better Nigeria.
I thank all my friends for their love and prayers. May Almighty God bless and reward you.
However, TheCable learnt that she has been observing bed rest a lot for a while because of physical weakness and also on the recommendation of her doctors.
Following a noticeable lack of improvement in her condition, she has now been flown to India for emergency treatment.
Akunyili is regarded as one of the most distinguished public officers Nigeria has ever had, given her track record at NAFDAC where she fought the scourge of fake and substandard drugs courageously, earning local and international accolades.
She was named among 18 heroes of our time in 2006 by TIME magazine.
There was a reported attempt on her life. The case is still in court.