President Muhammadu Buhari has sympathised with the government and people of Plateau State over the loss of one of their illustrious sons and the Statistician-General of the Federation, Dr. Simon Harry, who passed on yesterday.
The president, in a statement issued yesterday by his Media Adviser, Femi Adesina, also condoled with family, friends and associates of the deceased and noted his exemplary contributions to the evolution of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and developmental planning of the country.
Buhari paid tribute to the late Statistician-General who worked conscientiously with previous heads of the organisation in recent years, providing relevant data to government and making the NBS a point of reference on various issues affecting the country.
The president affirmed that with his appointment in August, 2021, Harry ensured that the organisation where he had put in three decades continued to be relevant in taking crucial decisions in the country.
He urged colleagues in the field of data gathering and analysis, especially at the NBS, to take solace in the fact that having risen to the pinnacle of his career, the late Harry put in his best in the service of the country.
He prayed that God would repose his soul and comfort the family in this time of grief.
In a related development, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mr. Clem Agba, in a statement said Harry’s death diminished the clan of public office holders who are significantly committed to the nation’s development.
He further described Harry’s passage as a rude shock, adding that he served the country with distinction as chief executive of the statistical agency.
The minister further noted that the deceased, “discharged the mandate of his office with unparalleled devotion and responsibility, always giving my office timeous reports on the activities of the National Bureau of Statistics as his supervising minister.”
“I attest to the transformation that took place under his short leadership stint at the NBS,” he stated.
Agba said, “Following his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari, Dr. Harry had hit the ground running, investing his best in the service for which history will not forget him and posterity will judge him positively.
“On behalf of the management and staff members of the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, I commiserate with President Muhammadu Buhari, his (Harry’s) family members and the management and staff members of the National Bureau of Statistics on this great loss.
“I pray that the Almighty God would grant the late Dr Simon Harry’s soul eternal repose.”
The NBS had earlier confirmed Harry’s dead through its Director, Communication and Public Relations Department, Mr. Ichedi, Sunday Joel.
Reports had emerged online alleging that the NBS had passed on but Ichedi had issued a report refuting the claim.
In an updated statement however, the NBS spokesman, said the deceased died in the “early hours of today, Wednesday, April 13th 2022 after a brief illness”.
He said, “The board, management and staff of National Bureau of Statistics(NBS), with a deep sense of loss, announce the passing on of the Statistician General of the Federation and Chief Executive Officer of NBS, Dr. Simon Harry, in the early hours of today, Wednesday, April 13th 2022 after a brief illness.”
The deceased reportedly fell sick last Saturday, and was immediately accorded medical attention but succumbed to the cold hands of death early Wednesday.
President Buhari approved his appointment as chief executive of the NBS in August 2021, after the two-term reign of Dr. Yemi Kale as SGF.
The late Harry was born on the March 15, 1965 in Lishin – Jengre of Plateau State.
He attended L.E.A. Primary School, Tuddai, Kaduna State between 1974 – 1980; Amo Community Secondary School, Katako Jengre, Plateau State (1980 – 1985; from where he obtained his first school leaving certificate and the West African Examination Council (WAEC) certificates respectively.
The late Statistician General was admitted into the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria (1987 – 1990) and graduated with a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) honours degree in Economics, after which he earned his Post-Graduate Diploma in Statistics from the University of Ibadan in 1997.
He later attended the University of Abuja from 2014 – 2017 for his Master of Science (M.Sc) degree in Economics and also his Ph.D in Economics.
He started his public career in 1992 when he joined the then Federal Office of Statistics and rose through the ranks to become a director before his appointment as the SGF on August 26, 2021 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The late statistician general was a member of many professional bodies in Nigeria and abroad.
He was happily married and blessed with children.
Culled from THISDAY