(Hamza Suleiman, NAN)
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Saturday laid the foundation for the construction of a 200-bed Emergency and Infectious Disease Hospital in Maiduguri.
The NNPC Group Managing Director (GMD), Mr Mele Kyari, during the groundbreaking ceremony, said the project would be executed by the company with support from Total and other oil and gas companies operating in the country.
Kyari said that the second COVID-19 Infectious Disease Hospital was sited in the state because of the already existing challenges aggregated by insecurity.
He said that the NNPC would provide medical facilities, logistics and support to patients at the completion of the projects.
‘It is not really a favour to the state, it is something that really needs to be done, and something we are challenged to do,’ the GMD said.
He said that President Muhammadu Buhari had particularly told NNPC to pay attention to Borno by doing everything possible to make sure that there is energy, security and exploration activities in the state
‘And we are focused on delivering on all those,’ Kyari said.
Mr Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, said it was part of efforts to combat COVID-19 in the country.
Mustapha, who was represented by the Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, said that the project was designed to complement and strengthen the country’s national healthcare delivery facilities.
He lamented that COVID-19 has destabilized the social, cultural, religious, economic and the health system.
He said that the establishment of the hospital would serve as a landmark achievement for the northeast in the aftermath of the pandemic.
The SGF further said that the N21 billion project, funded by the Federal Government through the NNPC, would be executed in 12 states in the six geopolitical zones of the country.
He reiterated the commitment of the President Task Force on Prevention of COVID-19 toward supporting the state to combat coronavirus.
Mustapha lauded Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno for his achievements in spite of the daunting challenges of insecurity in the state.
In his remark, Zulum commended the NNPC and its partners in mitigating the humanitarian crises in the state and supporting its rebuilding efforts.
He said: ‘What we’re seeing today is part of the institutional capacity building measures envisaged by President Muhammadu Buhari and delivered by the NNPC and its allied organisations in the oil sector.’
Zulum said that the selection of Maiduguri in siting the gigantic health outfit was quite apt because of its strategic location within the geopolitical zones and for it being the epicentre of humanitarian crises resulting from the insurgency.
The governor said that state was battling with the pandemic of Lassa fever and others even before the advent of the COVID-19.
He recalled that the state had lost about 201 health centres as a result of the destruction of the Boko Haram insurgency.
‘As you have seen, about 60 per cent of the populations are now residing in the state capital and therefore, these measures will go a long way in reducing congestion in different hospitals,’ he said.
He assured that the state would give the necessary support to facilitate the timely completion of the projects and the entire utilisation of the services for the benefit of the people.