Dora Akunyili Biography, age, career, spouse, daughter, net worth, cause of death

From 2001 to 2008, Dora Nkem Akunyili (14 July 1954 – 7 June 2014) served as the director general of Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

             Dora Akunyili Wiki

Name Dora Akunyili
Nickname None
Gender Male
Date of Birth 14-Jul-1954
Date of Death 7-Jun-2014
Aged 60
Birth Place Makurdi
Country Nigeria
Nationality Nigerian
Height None (m)
Weight Unknown (KGs)
Profession Pharmacologist

Early life and education

Chief Paul Young Edemobi, an Anambra State native from Nanka, was the father of Dora Edemobi, who was born in Makurdi, Benue State, Nigeria. She graduated with Grade I Distinction from Queen of the Rosary Secondary School in Nsukka, Enugu State in 1973 after taking the West African School Certificate Examination (W.A.S.C.) at St. Patrick’s Primary School in Isuofia, Anambra State, in 1966. As a result, she was awarded the Federal Government of Nigeria Undergraduate Scholarship as well as the Eastern Nigerian Government Post Primary Scholarship. She continued her studies in pharmacology at the University of Nigeria (U.N.N. ), where she got her bachelor’s degree in 1978 and her doctorate in ethnopharmacology in 1985.


She served on a number of State Government Boards before being appointed Supervisory Councilor for Agriculture in an Anambra State Local Government unit. In Enugu State’s University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (U.N.T.H.), she held a position as a hospital pharmacist.

She started working as a graduate assistant in the U.N.N. Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences in 1981. She was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1990 and to Consultant Pharmacologist in 1996 at the College of Medicine.

Akunyili was appointed Zonal Secretary of the Petroleum Special Trust Fund (P.T.F) in 1996, managing initiatives supported by oil revenues in the South Eastern States of Nigeria. She was appointed Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) by President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2001.

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She served as NAFDAC DG till 2009. She was appointed in 2001.

Since her sister, who was 21 years old, had died in 1988 after receiving false insulin injections as part of routine diabetic therapy, Akunyili had a personal incentive to combat the nation’s counterfeit medication problem.

She assembled a team of primarily female pharmacists and inspectors and launched a campaign against fake medications that resulted in the closure of numerous outdoor pharmacies across the nation.

Including one in Kano State after her officers confiscated £140,000 worth of fake drugs. The agency, under her leadership, broadcast jingles on radio and television to make the public aware of the dangers of substandard drugs and to encourage people to report suspicious drugs while also publishing lists of counterfeit products regularly in the newspapers.

The International Children’s Heart Foundation traveled to Nigeria in July 2003 to do surgery on ill children at an Enugu teaching hospital. Despite being confronted with what looked to be a hospital cover-up following the apparent use of counterfeit medical goods in the deaths of four children, Akunyili seized supplies and discovered fake adrenalin, false muscle relaxants, and contaminated intravenous drips.

She was said to have gotten convictions for 45 counterfeiters as of June 2006, and 56 cases were still ongoing. Her work raised public awareness of fake pharmaceuticals and encouraged more direct and focused customs surveillance in Nigeria.

Assassination attempt

Gunmen opened fire on Akunyili’s convoy on December 26, 2003, as it was traveling to Anambra State in eastern Nigeria. One of the bullets just missed her, passing through her headscarf and through the car’s windscreen. She had frequently received death threats against her, her family, and her colleagues before the tragedy. At least six people were charged with conspiracy and attempted murder in 2014, however they were all cleared and released.

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Akunyili was chosen to serve as the ministry of information and communications in 2008.

On December 16, 2010, she resigned from her position as minister of information and communications after two years of service in order to run for senator for Anambra Central in the National Assembly.

In April 2011, she ran for election as a senator for Anambra Central for the APGA, but Chris Ngige of the ACN defeated her. She promptly issued a petition contesting the outcome to the Independent National Electoral Commission.

She was a government administrator and pharmacist who was well-known internationally for her contributions to pharmacology, public health, and human rights.

Personal life and death

Ijeoma, Edozie, Somto, Njideka, Chidiogo, and Obumneme were their six children. She was married to physician Chike Akunyili. Njideka Akunyili Crosby, one of her kids, received the renowned Genius Grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in 2017.

In 2012, her book: The War Against Counterfeit Medicine: My Story was published.

On June 7, 2014, Dora Akunyili passed away in an Indian cancer hospital following a two-year struggle with the disease.Numerous celebrities from Nigeria and abroad, including former President Goodluck Jonathan and former head of the Nigerian military General Yakubu Gowon, attended her funeral on August 27 and 28.At Agulu in Anambra State, Akunyili was buried.

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Assassination of Chike Akunyili

Her husband Chike Akunyili was gunned down by assailants at Nkpor, in the Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra, on September 28, 2021, while returning from a memorial service for his late wife held at Sharon Hall, All Saints Cathedral, Onitsha, and sponsored by the University of Nigeria Nsukka Alumni Association (UNAA). It was reported that the incident claimed the lives of at least seven more persons.The Nigerian Federal Government claimed that IPOB was to blame for his passing.


throughout 900 honors were given to Akunyili throughout the course of her career, the most ever given to a Nigerian.Historyville states that she has received over 900 accolades, and that more than 100 prizes were eventually found among her boxes.

Some of the awards Akunyili received were:

  • Order of the Federal Republic, OFR
  • Time magazine award 2006 (“One of the eighteen heroes of our time”)
  • Person of the Year 2005 Award – Silverbird Communications Ltd, Lagos, 5 January 2006.
  • Award of Excellence – Integrated World Services (IWS), December 2005.
  • Award of Excellence – Advocacy for Democracy Dividends International, Lagos, 17 December 2005.
  • Meritorious Award 2005 – St. Michael’s Military Catholic Church, Apapa, Lagos, 4 December 2005.
  • African Virtuous and Entrepreneurial Women Merit Award 2005 – African Biographical Network, December, 2005.
  • Award for the Best Government Parastatal – National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), December, 2005.
  • An Icon of Excellence Award – The African Cultural Institute and Zenith Bank PLC, 8 December 2005
  • 2005 Grassroots Human Rights Campaigner Award London-based Human Rights Defense Organization, 8 December. 2005.
  • Most Innovative Director Award Federal Government College, Ijanikin, Lagos, October, 2005.
  • Integrity Award 2003 – Transparency International.

Net Worth

Famous pharmacologist Dora Akunyili was born in Nigeria on July 14, 1954. Dora Akunyili’s net worth is $5 Million.

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