President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday commissioned the Nigerian Navy Reference Hospital in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, almost 40 years after work started on the project.
The president said the commissioning was significant as good health and productivity are inextricably related.
Buhari said the yearning of the present administration is to provide affordable healthcare facilities across the country.
He said the hospital would provide effective health care for naval personnel, their families, the host communities, as well as other Nigerians.
“The importance of this cannot be overemphasised, most especially with the personnel of the armed forces in view of the enormous, mental and physical exertion that attends their profession. Active duty personnel must be in good health for military effectiveness at all times,” he said.
He commended the Nigerian Navy for the achievement.
Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ette Ekwe Ibas, said the hospital was conceived between 1974 and 1976 to serve as a model medical force-multiplier facility for the Nigerian Navy and other military and paramilitary services in the southern part of the country.
He said work earnestly commenced on the facility in 1980 as a project of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing it suffered slow progress and was eventually handed over to the Ministry of Defence in 1994.
“By 2012 when the Nigeria Navy took over the project at bare 30 per cent completion, it had been stalled for about 32 years thus earning the unenviable record of being one of the longest abandoned projects in the country,” he said.
He said in 2016 a renewed commitment was made the Navy to deliver the hospital in a grander form than was originally conceptualised.
The Naval Chief said with the commissioning a new page in the nation’s annals of medical services provision has been opened through the assemblage of world-class facilities and management expertise already in place.
He expressed appreciation to the President for his support.
The President also commissioned the Nigerian Navy Barracks in Atimbo, as well as the Cross River State rice seedlings and seed multiplication factory in Calabar.
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