By Bolaji Buhari/ Ismaila Chafe
Lagos, Feb. 9, 2019
President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday said that his administration would recover all looted public funds and deal decisively with perpetrators of corruption.
Buhari made the declaration in Lagos while speaking at the All Progressives Congress(APC) Presidential rally.
The rally attracted a mammoth crowd of party faithful, who trooped out in their thousands to welcome the president.
A National Leader of the party, Chief Bola Tinubu; Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; APC National Chairman, Mr Adams Oshiomole; Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, and Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, were with the president at the rally.
Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos, Gov. Ibikunle Amosun (Oyo), Gov. Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti) and Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), were some of the other top government and party personalities at the rally.
Buhari said his administration’s fight against corruption was total and irreversible, saying that no treasury looter would escape justice.
“Let me assure you that whoever has stolen our money, we will get hold of, take whatever they have stolen and keep them in prison. It is our duty and responsibility, we will do it,’’ he said.
The president also promised that his administration would continue to maintain progress in his campaign promises, if re-elected.
He added that more achievements would be recorded in the areas of security, economy and the fight against corruption.
Buhari said the All Progressives Congress (APC) was the only party that had their interests at heart and urged them to keep faith with the party in the February and March polls.
He thanked those at the rally for their patience and for defying the heat to attend the programme.
The President assured residents and indeed all Nigerians of his commitment to a better Nigeria.
Also speaking, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said the APC was committed to the Nigerian project and urged the electorate to reject the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) at the polls.
Osinbajo, who addressed the rally in Yoruba, said the APC would achieve more progress in job creation, infrastructural development and power generation, if re-elected.
The Vice President also said the current administration would sustain the tempo of investment in rail infrastructure, if elected.
He said the PDP almost looted the country dry during its 16years in power and that the APC was fixing the damage.
Osinbajo added that Nigerians could vouch for the integrity of Buhari, adding that “even his enemies know he is not a thief”.
He urged Lagos residents to turn out en masse to vote for APC on Feb. 16 and March 2.
Earlier, Oshiomole, Tinubu, Amaechi, Fashola and Ambode, among others, also addressed the rally.
APC flags were presented to the governorship, Federal and state legislative candidates in the state at the rally.
While in Lagos, President Buhari inaugurated the advanced Cancer treatment centre, with a pledge that the model will be replicated across the country to bring quality, first-class healthcare services to cancer patients in Nigeria.
According to a statement by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, the president inaugurated the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) state-of-the-art Centre at LUTH, Idi Araba, on Saturday.
At the inauguration ceremony, President Buhari promised to ensure that facilities for the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of cancer are available to many more Nigerians.
He said: ‘‘We are aware that up to 40% of funds spent by Nigerians on medical tourism is attributable to patients seeking treatment for cancer.
“Despite having an increasing number of citizens suffering from cancer, we until now, had only two working radiotherapy machines in the country.
‘‘Working through the NSIA and LUTH we utilized a PPP model that unlocked investment capital to directly address this issue.
“We will replicate this model across the country to bring quality, first-class healthcare services to as many Nigerians as we can.
‘‘Indeed, over the coming months, under our leadership, the NSIA will commission two Modern Medical Diagnostic Centres to be co-located in the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano State and the Federal Medical Centre Umuahia, Abia State, respectively, bringing additional investment to Nigeria’s healthcare sector.’’
While wishing the management of the hospital good luck in operating the centre, the president emphasized the need for maintenance of the equipment.
‘‘Our goal today is not simply to celebrate and applaud the culmination of months of hard work to achieve this objective. Neither is it solely to revel in the successful completion of the most modern and best-equipped Cancer treatment centre in West Africa.
‘‘Indeed we are proud, but we recognize that this modest effort to address the gaps in our tertiary healthcare system alone is insufficient to address all the challenges faced by the sector.
‘‘Today, we showcase what feats we can accomplish when we are together, unrelenting in our effort to deliver a common objective.
‘‘No one ever prays to be diagnosed with Cancer, but if they are, what we have made possible here today is the hope that a true chance of survival and good quality of life becomes part of the story of many Nigerian patients with cancer,’’ he said.
President Buhari acknowledged that his administration had introduced programmes to alleviate common diseases, including the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund targeted at ensuring access to primary healthcare for all Nigerians.
He, therefore, assured that the federal government would continue to push hard to raise awareness about cancer, educate the people and facilitate early diagnosis.
The president noted that this objective was part of his solemn commitment to Nigerians four years ago to improve the quality of health care in the country.
President Buhari, who performed the ceremony after attending the APC presidential campaign rally at the Teslim Balogun Stadium Surulere, Lagos, said his administration had focused on greater investment in the sector.
He added that the government would continue to work hard to ensure increased access to safe, high-quality healthcare.
‘‘We promised to effect policies that would remove debilitating constraints on the sector and create sustainable structures to strengthen our healthcare institutions.
‘‘Today, we are gathered here to acknowledge the modest but laudable strides we are making in fulfilling that promise. We recognize that progress in the health sector is handicapped by several bottlenecks.
‘‘Accordingly, we have worked and we will continue to work to ensure that systems are introduced to bridge these gaps,’’ he said.
The President told the audience at LUTH that the Federal Government had created an enabling environment for institutions such as the NSIA to help fund high impact projects on time and on budget, thereby delivering immense value for the citizens.
‘‘In the case of the Cancer Centre, we can measure this value in currency, but we prefer to measure the value in terms of its social impact, the number of lives of Nigerians that will be saved and positively affected as well as the impact of capacity building for our people,’’ he said.
In his remarks at the event, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NSIA, Mr. Uche Orji said the Centre was expected to raise the bar in the quality and standard of cancer treatment in Nigeria with outcomes that would be consistent with the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.
‘‘In addition, this Centre will demonstrate the economic potential of healthcare investments in Nigeria and catalyse increased private sector participation,” he said.
Also speaking, Prof. Chris Bode, Chief Medical Director, LUTH, noted that “the Centre is world-class and no Nigerian cancer patient needs to travel abroad again to receive treatment easily obtainable at home.
‘‘We, therefore, want to assure Your Excellency that we shall give what it takes to run this Centre as a pride to all Nigerians.’’
According to him, NSIAs investment is not only safe but will yield ample dividend to encourage other deep pocket investors to open up the health sector as a veritable investors’ haven.
Also speaking, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole described the Centre as the single largest investment in cancer treatment in the country by any administration since independence.
Adewole added that the facility could cater for 100 patients daily and provide training for over 80 healthcare professionals, among many others.