By Najem Francis, Sokoto
Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal has commended the Nigerian Army for approving the establishment of a tertiary military hospital in Sokoto that would serve as centre of excellence for diseases of military importance.
A statement by Tambuwal’s spokesman, Malam Imam Imam, said that the hospital which is the first of its kind in the country, would also serve as a research institution with a United Nations’ grade international public health laboratory.
According to the statement, government has provided space at the Murtala Muhammed Specialist Hospital for the temporary use by the hospital pending the execution of work on its permanent site.
The statement quoted Tambuwal as saying that some states have applied to be given the right to host the facility, but Sokoto emerged the preferred choice.
He added: “First of all, I want to inform the people of Sokoto state that our efforts in attracting important projects from within and outside the country have continued to yield positive results.”
“This hospital is of great importance not just to the military but to our people as a whole. Diseases of military importance are areas of concern globally because of the large population of people that can be infected after outbreaks.
“Such diseases are subject of importance in efforts to counter bioterrorism and bio-weapons by aggressor nations. These infectious diseases include among others dengue fever, ebola, Lassa fever, anthrax among others.
“Having a centre in Sokoto dedicated to countering these likely outbreaks is a welcome development. We will support the hospital with facilities and logistics to properly take off until it is fully on its feet,” he declared.
He dispelled the notion that the government has permanently handed over the Murtala Muhammed Specialist Hospital to the military.
“We just sent a bill to the state House of Assembly to establish the Murtala Muhammed Specialist Hospital as property of the state government. Its position has not changed. The military will use the facility pending when all facilities for the newly-established Nigerian Army’s 8 Division, Sokoto, are fully ready,” the Governor said.