President Muhammadu Buhari said Friday that the new state-of-the-art Presidential/VIP Wing of the State House Medical Centre in Abuja would boost health infrastructure in the country by far, calling for the judicious use of the facility to maximize its benefits.
The Presidential/VIP Wing of the State House Medical Centre, which was conceptualized by the previous administration eleven years ago, was officially unveiled by the President on Friday.
Accompanied by the First Lady, Dr Aisha Buhari, members of the first family, Senate President Ahmed Lawan, Chief of Staff Prof Ibrahim Gambari, and the Permanent Secretary of the State House, Tijjani Umar, the President toured the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory (CathLab), Operating Rooms for regular and specialized procedures, Intensive Care Unit, Specialized Infectious Disease Isolation Suites, and Specialized consultation rooms.
He expressed satisfaction with the fully-equipped and operational medical facilities at the Centre, noting that in the past eight years, holistic health care has been given a priority.
During his tour of the facility, President Buhari interacted with the local medical staff who received specialized training on handling the advanced equipment available at the facility.
The First Lady also expressed her gratitude for the completion of the project, which she had advocated for six years ago when the President had to seek medical care abroad.
She emphasized that the VIP Wing would provide medical services for the First Family and leaders, reducing the need for overseas treatment and allowing international experts to complement the local medical staff.
The State House Permanent Secretary explained that the VIP facility is intended to be a one-stop shop for the provision of medical services to the President, Vice President and their families as well as other VIPs.
‘‘The establishment of the facility reflects Mr President’s commitment to prioritizing the health and well-being of Nigerians,’’ Umar said.
He recounted that the concept of establishing a medical facility within the seat of government was conceived in 2012.
According to him, this initial idea resulted in the creation of a project brief in 2013, outlining the objectives, scope, and specifications for the facility’s construction.
However, it wasn’t until 2020 that President Buhari gave his approval for a comprehensive geotechnical survey and assessment of seven potential sites, he said.
‘‘Mr. President selected this site for the project after he had gone round to personally inspect the proposed sites. This led to the development of a concept design, taking into consideration the specific requirements of its intended end – user.
‘‘The contract for the construction of the facility which occupies a floor area of 2,485 square metres across one suspended floor and a basement, was awarded to Messrs Julius Berger Nigeria, Plc as a turnkey project after a rigorous evaluation process and the site handed over to them in August, 2021.
‘‘However, it was on 1st November, 2021 that actual construction started after a ground – breaking event led by the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari and the project was completed on schedule and on budget in December, 2022.
‘‘All this was achieved due to the singular resolve and resilience of His Excellency Mr. President to address the long – identified need for such a facility and to bequeath a worthy legacy in this regard.
‘‘Today, to the Glory of God and country, this dream has been achieved and standing in all its splendor, before our very eyes is this technology – supported Presidential Wing of the State House Medical Centre,’’ he said.
The Permanent Secretary acknowledged the relentless efforts of President Buhari and expressed gratitude to the First Lady for her unwavering support and advocacy for the project.
He also recognized the contributions of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief of Staff to the President, and the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning.
He commended the project team and the management staff of the State House and State House Medical Centre for their dedication and efficiency.
The contractor, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, was praised for their commitment, competence, consistency, and exemplary workmanship, which played a significant role in the successful and timely completion of the project without exceeding the allocated budget.