Aisha Buhari, Nigeria’s First Lady, says the newly inaugurated N21bn presidential wing of the State House Medical Centre would end the need for subsequent presidents and their family members to seek medical treatment abroad.
She stated this on Friday when she joined President Muhammadu Buhari and other dignitaries to inaugurate the facility at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to her, she first nurtured the idea of a presidential wing medical facility in 2017 after her husband’s extensive stay in London for treatment.
Recall that in May 2017, the President was in London for a medical pilgrimage lasting 104 days; his longest since assuming office.
With the facility ready for use, the outgoing First Lady maintained that Nigerian Presidents and their family members would only need to fly medical experts over to Abuja to assist their indigenous colleagues, rather than going on expensive foreign trips.
“I’m quite happy and feeling fulfilled. Though we are leaving, but all the same, we thank God that the project has come to reality.
“I initiated this project six years ago when my husband spent three months abroad, 90 days consecutively. And it shouldn’t be because we have all the experts in Nigeria. We only need a good platform.
“The hospital that is supposed to serve the First Family is serving like 35,000 people, which is quite much. That’s why I insisted that we should have a VIP wing within the proximity of the Presidential Villa,” she said.
Speaking on if the medical centre would now make it unnecessary for Nigerian leaders to receive treatment abroad, she responded, “Yes! This one is for the health and wellness of the First Family. They don’t need to go abroad now. They only need to may be fly in experts to help our people. You know.
“So, no need for any leader to spend months and months abroad because of health care.”is
We reports that the State House Medical Centre was conceptualised by the previous administration 11 years ago.
The President, on his part expressed satisfaction with the fully-equipped and operational medical facilities at the centre, noting that in the past eight years, holistic health care had been given a priority.
Buhari, during his tour of the facility, interacted with the medical workers, who received specialised training in handling the advanced equipment available at the facility.
Similarly, Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar, said the medical centre would provide services for the President and his deputy as well as their families and other special guests.
“The idea was conceived in 2012, which led to the generation of a project brief outlining its objectives, scope and specifications for its construction in 2013. But, it was only in 2020 and with the guidance and approval of Mr President that a comprehensive geotechnical survey and appraisal of seven sites was conducted for which he selected this site.
“The facility occupies a floor area of 2,485 square metres across one suspended floor and basement, and was awarded to Julius Berger Nigeria.”
Umar added that the facility reflected Buhari’s commitment to prioritising the health and well-being of all Nigerians.
“The facility offers a wide range of specialised medical services, covering advanced diagnostics and treatment; that’s why it’s equipped with the latest medical equipment of global standards.
“Today, with the glory of God, all this was achieved due to the singular resolve and resilience of President Muhammadu Buhari to address this long-identified need for such a facility and bequeath a worthy legacy,” he said.