By Uche Amunike
Just eight months after his appointment as the Nigerian Statistician General of the Federation by the Muhammadu Buhari-led government, Dr Simon Harry has been confirmed dead.
His death was confirmed in a press statement issued to Newsmen by the Director, Communication and Public Relations Department, National Bureau of Statistics, Ichedi Joel, Wednesday, in Abuja.
According to the Press Statement, which stated that the late Dr Harry died after a brief illness, he was happily married with children.
It partly stated: ‘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 late Nigerian Statistician General joined public service in 1992 and since then has risen up in the ladder of success to the point of getting an appointment as the Statistician-General of the Federation on August 26 2021 to be in charge of the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics.
As at 1992 when he joined the service, he was Statistician 11, but eventually rose to the post of Substantive Director of Statistics in 2019.
He was equally loved by the staff of Nigerian Bureau of Statistics for his contributions as Statistician-General and the transformation he brought to the office, after he came on board. One of the major reform initiatives recorded under his leadership was that of the Federal Office of Statistics being transformed to the current National Bureau of Statistics.
The late Nigerian Statistician-General will always be remembered for his other achievements which include reforming Nigeria’s Statistical System that led to the creation and establishment of State Bureau of statistics at the sub-national level.
Born on March 15, 1965, the Plateau State-born administrator graduated from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria with a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) Honours Degree in Economics. He also obtained a Post-Graduate Diploma in Statistics from the University of Ibadan, in 1997.
He bagged a Masters Degree and PhD in Economics from the University of Abuja and was a member of many professional bodies in Nigeria and in diaspora.
Recall that a few days ago, the fake news of the Statistics-General’s death was reported in an online tabloid. This led to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) issuing a statement to debunk the falsehood.
In a statement signed by Director, Communication and Public Relations Department, Ichedi Joel, Sunday, he condemned the reports by the online platform that spread the false news that Simon Harry was dead and explained that he was merely ill on Saturday but have recovered on Sunday after taking his medications.
He further called on members of the public to ignore the news of the purported death of the Statistian-General.
His words: ‘The fact of the matter is that the Statistician-General was slightly indisposed on Saturday and following medication, is now recuperating. We are well certain that he would in a matter of a few days, be back to his desk and continue his work in repositioning the NBS as the foremost national statistics agency in Africa and among the best globally’.
Sadly, his death occurred, just a few days after.