President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday inaugurated the Nigerian Navy Reference Hospital in Calabar, Cross River State, amid tight security.
The establishment of the hospital was conceived in 1974, while work commenced in 1980.
The president, who is visiting Calabar for the second time in three years, also inaugurated a Rice Seedling Factory in Calabar built by the Governor Ben Ayade-led administration to boost the Federal Government’s agriculture revolution programme.
Speaking before the unveiling of the Navy Reference Hospital, President Buhari stated that the facility would improve the quality of health services to naval personnel, their families and the general public.
Buhari said that his administration placed a premium on the welfare and well-being of security personnel who were fighting tirelessly to maintain peace and order in the country.
He said, “The importance of this facility cannot be over-emphasised, most importantly for the personnel of the Armed Forces in view of the enormous mental and physical exertion. I have no doubt that this facility, built with the state-of-the-art equipment, will improve the health standard of military personnel, their families and the general public.
“I charge the Navy to ensure sustenance of this high standard hospital. This will help to realise the value of the resources committed into the project. Our investment in health care and accommodation for military personnel will help them to bring out their best in national security. I want to commend the Chief of the Naval Staff and the Chief of Defence Staff for realising these great projects.”
Dignitaries at the event were Governor Ben Ayade, his Abia State counterpart, Okezie Ikpeazu; Minister for Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi; Minister of Defence, Muhammad Dan Ali; among others.
The President also inaugurated the 100-unit model bricks accommodation at Atimbo Navy Barracks for officers of the Eastern Naval Command.
In his comment, the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete-Ibas, explained that the project was designed 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.