By Daud Olatunji
ABEOKUTA-Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has advocated tax incentives for wealthy Nigerians so as to contribute to the fund meant to wage war against cancer.
Obasanjo stated this in Abeokuta, Saturday while delivering a paper at a special fund raising for the establishment of cancer awareness and diagnostic center.
Obasanjo said the call became necessary in view of the fact contained in a medical report that Nigeria would be having 21 million new cases of cancer with an attendant effect of 13 million deaths by year 2030.
He appealed to people of goodwill across the country to support what he described as “a worthy and commendable venture” .The former president, who spoke on the topic: “Philanthropy and Ethics; a Lesson from History”, specifically mentioned building, running and adequate maintenance of a cancer awareness and diagnostic center.
While how the Federal Government could assist in the war against cancer, Obasanjo said the Federal Government of Nigeria could reach out to rich Nigerians who are yet to identify with the war against cancer disease in order to encourage them to do so.
“I believe in the last ten years or so we have started getting Nigerians who had made money or that fortune had smiled on them and they have tried to show philanthropic gestures, people like Aliko Dangote, Tony Elumelu, Jim Ovia and Sir Kensington Adebutu among others”.
“Those that are doing, let us encourage them while those that are not doing, let us give them incentives to do it. The best thing of course is that they can deduct whatever they give as deductible from tax offices which we can by setting up a foundation and ask the ministry of finance to give you a tax relief on whatever you do”.
He further emphasised that cancer diagnosis and treatments in most countries all over the world, have largely been supported by philanthropic organisations and charity since government alone cannot bear the burden of funding such treatments.
Obasanjo however, commended notable Africans such as Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Sir Keshington Adebutu, Tony Elumelu, Jim Ovia as well as Strive Masiyiwa among others whose the philanthropic contributions in the war against cancer in Nigeria and Africa are of no small measure.
Earlier, President of Primus Torchbearers, Sir Soji Amusan had in his welcome address, stated that his organisation decided to establish the cancer awareness and diagnostic center as a way of providing an avenue for the less privileged to be educated on what to do as well as to have access to medical facilities for early detection of the dreaded cancer disease.