Despite securing partnership with a key organ of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, about eight years ago and raising billions of naira in cash and materials from public and private donors, the International Cancer Centre Abuja, ICCA, a pet project of a former Nigerian first lady, Turai Yar’Adua is in the doldrums and its structures overtaken by weeds.
At the sprawling centre built on 7.3 hectares of choice land donated by the Federal Government of Nigeria, dilapidated equipment and about 200 donated mini-buses, scream a sad story of unfathomable waste.
Recently when Society Gists visited the center, we noticed that burglars had stormed the centre strategically located along the Abuja Airport expressway and carted away power cables worth millions of naira. It’s not known how many other equipment have been poached from the abandoned buildings.
Mrs. Yar’Adua had in July 2009, two years after her husband, the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, took office, flagged off the project with an elaborate fundraising drive to mobilize N10 billion for the construction of the centre.
The exact amount raised from public and private donors was not disclosed.
According to the former first lady’s speech on the occasion, the ICCA emanated from her deep concern for the vulnerable and less-privileged Nigerians suffering from the scourge of cancer.
“My resolve to stand up to the menace of cancer is occasioned by the devastating effects of the disease on our population,” she said, adding “The more enlightened and financially capable among Nigerians suffering from cancer have been able to travel out to seek professional and medical attention in the form of diagnosis and treatment.”