EXCLUSIVE: How Nigeria’s former minister, head of UNFPA, Babatunde Osotimehin, died

Professor Babatunde Osotimehin
Professor Babatunde Osotimehin

The Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, Babatunde Osotimehin, passed on while watching television alone in his home in New York on Sunday, PREMIUM TIMES has learnt.

Mr. Osotimehin, a former Nigerian health minister and also former head of Nigeria’s AIDS agency, NACA, was one of the most senior Nigerians within the United Nations system, who had been on his second term as a UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNFPA.

A family member of the late professor of medicine, who was around about the time of Osotimehin’s death in his New York home, mentioned meeting the UN bureaucrat unresponsive before the TV set he had been watching on his return from church on Sunday. It was only after he had tried communicating with him in vain, and had also sought to nudge him awake to no response, that it dawned on him that the former minister had passed on.

The 68-year-old is suspected to have died of cardiac arrest, even though this is yet to be confirmed.

The family members spoken to said the funeral rites of the late professor would be announced at a later date.
Before he became health minister, Mr. Osotimehin was the Director General of the National Agency for Control of AIDS and was also a former Provost of the College of Medicine at the University of Ibadan.

He became the Executive Director of UNFPA on November 19, 2010 to serve a four-year term and was re-appointed on August 21, 2014.

Born on February 6, 1949, Mr. Osotimehin attended Igbobi College between 1966 and 1971.

After his medical studies at the University of Ibadan, he received a doctorate in medicine from the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, in 1979.

Mr. Osotimehin, throughout his professional career, had consistently advanced the cause of youth and gender, within the context of reproductive health and rights.

In its reaction to his death, the Kaduna State government through its Ministry of Budget tweeted: “We commiserate with the family of former Nigerian Minister of Health & Head of UNFPA, Babatunde Osotimehin, a friend of KDSG who died today.”

The condolence was also retweeted by the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai.


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  • dami

    Rip prof

  • Fadama

    Rest well, Professor. Thoughts and prayers with family and loved ones.

  • sirOscie

    My condolence to the Osotimehin’s.