Former First Lady, Hajiya Turai Yar’adua, has said the National Cancer Centre, Abuja, has not commenced operations because those who made fat financial pledges during fund raising absconded after the death of ex-President Umaru Musa Yar’adua.
She disclosed this when some Nigerian students in Uganda, led by their President Mubarak Yahaya Adamu, presented her with a merit award in Abuja at the weekend.
“My major target is the Cancer Centre. Before my husband died, I intended to have a hospital. We had a launching some people came, they made pledges but after my husband died, they just vanished. But we have finished the first phase of the hospital, it’s a very big project,” she said.
The former first lady said the first phase consists of about 200 rooms, four theatres and other offices.
She added the board of the centre would be reconstituted to have spread across the six geo-political zones.
“We will make sure that we get somebody that was touched by cancer either himself, wife or child to be the board chairman so that that person will have sympathy and the passion to do what is right.
“So by the end of 2018, hopefully, we will start operating the hospital. We don’t want government to come in. When you depend on government they come and go. Whatever you want to achieve, do it independent of government. When we start operating the hospital, we will have donor agencies that will come in,” she said.
She said once that was done, cancer patients would have no cause to travel abroad for medical attention as the hospital would provide same services in Abuja.
“For those that cannot pay, we will pay for them but those that can pay, they will pay 100 per cent, there will be no subsidy for them. Insha Allah, very soon, we will start,” she said.
Adamu said the award was conferred on the former first lady because of her sustained passion for assisting the underprivileged, and encourage her to do more.