By Paul Efiong
Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal has commended the Nigerian Army for the establishment of a tertiary military hospital in Sokoto that will serve as centre of excellence for diseases of military importance.
A statement issued Tuesday in Sokoto by Tambuwal’s spokesman, Malam Imam Imam, said the hospital, the first of its kind in the country, will also serve as a research institution with a United Nations’-grade international public health laboratory.
It said already, the government has provided space at the Murtala Muhammed Specialist Hospital for temporary use by the hospital pending when work on its permanent site is executed.
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 destination.
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 has 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 added.
The statement said 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 added.