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At a glance: Nigeria

Football star Nwankwo Kanu appointed UNICEF Nigeria Goodwill Ambassador

© UNICEF Nigeria/2005
Nwankwo Kanu, the newly appointed UNICEF Nigeria Goodwill Ambassador, chats with a pupil from a UNICEF-supported child-friendly school in Kuje.

By Geoffrey Njoku

ABUJA, Nigeria, 5 July 2005 - Nigerian football superstar Nwankwo Kanu was recently appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF Nigeria. At a ceremony held in Abuja, the capital, Mr. Kanu met the press and signed a two-year contract with UNICEF.

“I am excited by this opportunity to contribute in alleviating the dire circumstances children face every day in Nigeria,” said Mr. Kanu during the signing ceremony. “I have already been working to help children with heart problems through the Kanu Heart Foundation. As a Goodwill Ambassador, I have the opportunity to work on broader issues that affect many Nigerian children,” continued Mr. Kanu.

© UNICEF Nigeria/2005
UNICEF Nigeria Representative Ayalew Abai (left in last row), and Nwankwo Kanu (right in last row), pose with the football team of a UNICEF-supported school in Kuje.

Mr. Kanu will participate in UNICEF’s advocacy, fundraising and programme efforts for Nigeria’s children. Using his fame and popularity, he will soon be involved in encouraging girls’ enrolment in schools, tackling the HIV/AIDS pandemic through youth empowerment, and boosting routine immunization, especially polio eradication initiatives in the country.

“I am confident that you would be a compelling and eloquent advocate in focusing attention on issues related to children rights,” remarked UNICEF’s Representative in Nigeria, Ayalew Abai. “I also trust that the prestige, talent and presence that you would bring to these issues will help UNICEF send a powerful message that would reach the hearts and minds of people in Nigeria,” added Mr. Abai.

Mr. Kanu won the African Footballer of the Year Award twice, in 1996 and 1999. Before joining his current club, West Bromwich Albion, of the English Premier League, Mr. Kanu played for Ajax Amsterdam, Inter Milan and Arsenal. He is also a regular member of the Nigerian national football team - the Super Eagles.



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