Abeokuta — The District Governor of Rotary Club International District 9110, Kola Sodipo, has hinted that Nigeria may be declared "polio free" next year.
He equally said the Rotary Club International had spent over $10 billion (US dollars) on polio eradication campaign globally since 1988.
Sodipo spoke with journalists in Abeokuta on Tuesday as part of the group's activities marking this year's World Polio Day.
"We have had over 26 months of no single virus in Nigeria and if it continues like this, Nigeria will be declared a polio free country next year," he said.
Sodipo stressed that cases of polio in the country had drastically reduced from 388 to zero, assuring that "by next year Nigeria will be removed from the list of polio-endemic nations."
"Since the launch of Rotary's Polio-Plus in 1985 and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988, we have seen last cases of the disease marked in every continent except two. Currently, Africa has gone two years without polio and will soon be declared "polio free," he said.
He explained that once polio is eradicated in Nigeria, "We can free up approximately 40 billion US dollars in resources that will be used to tackle other diseases."
According to him, Rotary has committed itself to raise $150 million in support of polio eradication by 2020, an effort he said would be matched with "2:1 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation."