The First Lady, Aisha Buhari, has declared that presidents have no reason to seek medical treatment outside the country anymore.
She made the declaration Friday when President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the new N21 billion Presidential/VIP Wing of the State House Medical Centre located within the precincts of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The First Lady, who accompanied her husband to the event, noted that the facility would stop the need for the president and his family members to go abroad for medical treatment.
The First Lady, who spoke to journalists after President Buhari cut the tape and concluded a guided tour of the facility, said she bought the idea of executing the project six years ago, following the extensive stay of her husband abroad for medical treatment.
She said “now that the facility is in place, presidents and their family members will no longer need to go abroad for treatment,” but might only fly medical experts to assist their colleagues in the country.
On her impression of the new medical facility, she said, “I’m quite happy, feeling fulfilled. Though we are leaving, all the same, we thank God that the project has come to reality.
“I have opted for it six years now. I initiated this project six years ago when my husband spent three months abroad, consecutively, 90 days, 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 we should have a VIP Wing within the proximity of the Presidential Villa.”
On whether the facility would make it unnecessary for the nation’s leaders to go abroad for treatment, 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 fly in experts to help our people.
“So, there’s no need for any leader to spend months and months abroad because of health care,” she said.
Perm sec’s remarks
Speaking earlier, the permanent secretary, State House, Mr. Tijjani Umar, said the medical centre would provide services to the president and vice-president, 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 of 2,485 square metres across one suspended floor and basement and was awarded to Julius Berger Nigeria,” he said.
Umar said the facility reflected President 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 standard.
“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.”
The permanent secretary also expressed appreciation to the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, for her doggedness and advocacy towards improving the health of women and children.