I am highly honoured to be here today to commission this modern and well-equipped Reference Hospital. This signifies new efforts to cater for the wellbeing of members of the Armed Forces and the citizenry in general.
2. Essentially, this facility is part of the growing commitment to enhance the welfare of troops in the theatre of operations. I hasten to remind you all that the welfare of members of the Armed Forces is one of the critical priorities of this administration and this hospital symbolizes our commitment to this policy.
3. May I here, acknowledge and commend the Air Force for reviewing its order of battle in response to current and emerging threats facing the country.
4. The establishment of Special Operations Command in Bauchi which is co-located with this new hospital is the most recent testimony. These initiatives confirm our collective commitment to tackle any threat to the security of our country.
5. The Air Force remains a key component of the Armed Forces in its constitutional role of providing aid to civil authorities across the country.
6. These efforts include surveillance, security of airports, emergency assistance and resettlement of displaced people.
7. These laudable efforts will continue in the interest of the country as it is our strategic goal to widen civil-military relationship. In fact, it is in the military’s interest to seek better understanding with the civilian population.
8. I am therefore delighted to note that this hospital, though a military facility, will accept civilians in an emergency.
9. It is a fact that world-wide, military hospitals are equipped and funded to provide the best and most efficient health care delivery services. I am therefore pleased to note that this Reference Hospital which we are about to commission is of international standards.
10. I understand you have here some of the best facilities available and are equipped to deliver the highest standard available anywhere. This is a 60-bed hospital with facilities such as CT Scan, MRI, Cancer Screening Centre and a Dialysis Centre. Recently, the Federal Government through the Ministry of Health announced an on-going plan towards establishing a National Agency for Cancer Control (NACC) in Nigeria.
11. What that implies is that when the agency comes on stream, this hospital will fit into its activities towards tackling cancer, one of the major sources of health concerns in Nigeria and globally.
12. The hospital is therefore established to perform very critical roles for the military, the security agencies and the community as a whole. It will specially provide additional medical support for members of the Armed Forces involved in counter insurgency operations in the North East.
13. The counter insurgency efforts are bound to be enhanced the location of this medical facility because of its proximity to the theatres of operation. It will reduce the hitherto long distance to 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital and Nigerian Air Force Hospital Kaduna for casualties, thus saving time for casualty evacuation.
14. The strategic goal is that more lives will be saved from operational injuries.
15. Furthermore, this hospital will reinforce the national trauma medical support for critical emergencies such as natural or man-made disasters. It is a well-known fact today that once disasters strike, all facilities and personnel including those of the military are deployed as first responders and life-saving interventions.
16. The hospital is strategically positioned to assist in collaborating with other agencies of government when unforeseeable disasters occur.
17. While urging the Air Force to put adequate mechanism in place to ensure an enduring and optimal performance of the hospital, I implore the Armed Forces to establish a system that will ensure unity of effort in the articulation of joint medical policies and execution of joint medical schemes and programmes for the 3 Services. This will eventually serve as a precursor to the re-establishment of the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) as envisaged in the Defence Policy of Nigeria.
18. The disbandment of the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) in 1976 encouraged each Service to develop and upgrade its own health care facilities at various health care levels but today’s reality calls for harmonization in order to optimise the utilization of medical resources and avoid duplication of efforts and saving the country’s scare resources.
19. Here I will like to commend the Service Chiefs and the military commanders for ensuring that the welfare and well-being of the troops are given priority at all times. The credible performance of our men of late attests to the effectiveness of Nigerian Air Force (NAF), especially as they give air support to ground troops.
20. It is on this note that I once again express my profound sympathy over the recent deaths of some of our gallant officers and men in battle. I have received assurances from the Service Chiefs that additional force protection measures are being put in place to safeguard our troops.
21. Finally, I wish to thank and commend the Nigerian Air Force for initiating and completing this facility I urge you to ensure sustainability of maintenance and quality delivery of service to members of the Armed Forces and the civil populace in general. May God bless this hospital and make it a positive contribution to the well-being of all Nigerians in need of its services.
Thank you all for your attention