Lagos, Thursday, 16 February, 2017 – According to the UNAIDS Protection Gap Report 2015, Nigeria has the second largest HIV epidemic in the world. About 3.5 million Nigerians are living with HIV as at 2015. An estimated 60% of new HIV infections in western and central Africa in 2015 occurred in Nigeria, together with South Africa and Uganda, Nigeria accounts for almost half of all new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa every year.
While the aforementioned statistics are no doubt discouraging, the current figures are no higher than they currently are because of the activities of several local and international bodies organisations, working tirelessly to clamp down on the continuous and uncontrollable spreading of the deadly virus. One of such organisations is the Nigerian Business Coalition Against AIDS (NiBUCAA).
NiBUCAA is a Business Membership Organisation (BMO) established on 15 February, 2003, as the vehicle the private sector’s response to HIV and AIDS in Nigeria. The former President Olusegun Obasanjo, played a pioneering role in the establishment of this organisation. NiBUCAA was set up to position the private sector in capitalising on their unique strengths and proficiencies to HIV program areas and mitigate the impact of HIV and AIDS in the workplace and society in general.
To ensure the accomplishment of its mandate, two high-flying private sector leaders were nominated to co-chair NiBUCAA for the next few years; Dr. Herbert Wigwe, CEO/GMD, Access Bank Plc. and Nicholas Terraz, MD/CEO, Total E&P Nigeria Limited.
Mr Jeffrey Ewing
The dinner, which was sponsored by Access Bank Plc, was held at was held at Skyline Terrace, Oriental Hotel, Lagos, and started with an opening prayer and the national anthem at about 7:15p.m (GMT +1) on 16 February, 2017. Mr Jeffrey Ewing, Managing Director, Chevron Nigeria, gave an introductory speech in which he commended the activities of the organisation over the years and also congratulated the new co-chairs.
Mr Olusina Olulana
There was also a goodwill message from the past CEO of NiBUCAA, Mr Olusina Olulana and a presentation on “NiBUCAA: Past, Present and Future” by Gbenga Alabi, Acting Executive Secretary, NiBUCAA.
Mr. Gbenga A. Alabi
In Mr Alabi’s presentation, he gave a run through of the history of NiBUCAA, the achievements – The Public-Private Partnership Project with Private Investors in African/German Technical Corporation (PIA/GTZ) to implement workplace project in 9 companies (Oct. 2007 – September 2010); The Wellness/Positive Living training course (2006/2007); The Greater involvement of People Living with AIDS (GIPA) orientation training (2006) Global fund, the challenges faced and the way forward – To lead the engagement of the Nigerian Business Community in the National health matters; and to play a convening role on all health and safety issues in the workplace within the private sector in Nigeria. He thanked partners who had strongly supported the network over the years, including Total, Access Bank, Dangote, Diamond Bank, Chevron, Lafarge, Guinness and much more.
(L-R) Dr. Herbert Wigwe, CEO/GMD, Access Bank Plc., Dr. Pascal Dozie, (CON), Nicholas Terraz, MD/CEO, Total E&P Nigeria Limited.
The highlight of the dinner was the transition of power to the new co-chairs, which was coordinated by Dr Pascal Dozie, (CON). Dr Dozie was the co-chair of NiBUCAA for 14 years (2003 – 2017). Dr Dozie paid tribute to all the founding founders of NiBUCAA, including President Olusegun Obasanjo, and shared some of the rigours and satisfaction that he had experienced during his tenure as the co-chair with the audience. Just prior to the inauguration, Dr Dozie was presented with an honourary award by Dr. Peju Adenusi, CEO, Hygeia Community Health Care, on behalf of the BMO.
Dr Dozie inaugurated the new co-chairs of NiBUCAA, Dr. Wigwe and Nicholas Terraz, as well and presented award plaques to them for their existing support and their commitment to engaging the network more closely by accepting to co-chair. In their acceptance speeches, the new co-chairs pledged their unflagging commitment to the goal of NiBUCAA, which is to prevent the spread and mitigate the impact of HIV and AIDS in the private sector, as well as positioning members to contribute to the national response in their host communities. The co-chairs acknowledged that the ideals of NiBUCAA are in line with that of their individual organisations and implored staff of NiBUCAA and every other involved party to join and make the journey successful.
Cross Section of Attendees
The dinner was attended by members of the financial sector, telecommunications, oil and gas, construction, consumer goods, health sector, media, and CSOs. Other highlights of the dinner include the good music and delicious meals which the audience were treated to. The event was rounded off with a vote of thanks and prayer by Ms. Omobolanle Laniyan-Victor, Head of Sustainability, Access Bank Plc.