Kano — A N2.3bn hospital project which has reached 80 per cernt completion has been abandoned. Now, past and present aides of serving and former governors of Kano state are busy trading words.
The N2.3billion 120-bed space paediatric (Referral) hospital on Zoo Road in Tarauni Local Government Area of Kano State has been abandoned after about 90 per cent works on the project has been completed, Weekly Trust has learnt.
Weekly Trust reports that the project was initiated by the immediate past administration of the state in 2007 to meet the medical needs of children in Tarauni, a densely populated local government area.
It was learnt that the gigantic building has been abandoned for over three years now, making it vulnerable to dilapidation.
Our correspondents gathered that the project which was awarded to Kimpex Engineering and Construction Company Limited at N2.3bn was going on smoothly until the expiration of the tenure of Malam Ibrahim Shekarau in the state.
It was observed that the project which comprises a two-storey building, administrative block and other structures was almost completed before it was abandoned. A security guard working in the building said construction works at the hospital site stopped immediately after Malam Ibrahim Shekarau's administration elapsed. As at last Thursday, all building works at the site had been completed except the painting, wiring and installation of the hospital equipment that were yet to be done. The structures had been turned into residential apartment as many people were seen living inside.
Motorists and pedestrians plying the ever-busy Zoo Road always lament the neglect of the structure.
Malam Ibrahim Shekarau expressed dismay over what he described as total neglect of the project. Shekarau who spoke through his media aide, Sule Yau Sule told Weekly Trust that the project was initiated to provide medical services to the people of the state. He said the project was about 80 per cent completion before the expiration of their tenure.
"There was no paediatric hospital in the whole country when the idea for the establishment of this hospital was conceived. It was in appreciation of the establishment of the hospital that the National Paediatric Association of Nigeria honoured Malam at that time.
"There was provision for the completion of the hospital in the 2011 budget which we were implementing before the expiration of our tenure. Unfortunately, the project was abandoned even when government is continuity. When we came on board in 2003, we spent over a year doing the projects initiated by Kwankwaso during his first tenure, that is, 1999 to 2003. And now they are abandoning our projects which we conceived to better the lots of the citizenry," he said.
While denying the reports that the project was a USAID-funded one, Shekarau said the project has no foreign or local sponsor, saying it was a sole initiative of the Kano State government at that time.
"It was initiated and funded by the Kano State government. Anybody who has a proof that the project is funded by USAID should come forward with it. Another hospital that was also conceived by our administration was the one in Giginyu in Nasarawa Local Government Are. It has also been abandoned. They are doing this because they don't want us to get the credit," he said.
Yau said he could not remember when the project was supposed to be completed "because it was awarded long time ago and you know we left government about three years ago".
The state Commissioner for Information, Professor Umar Faruk Jibril said the present administration in the state has not abandoned the project. "We want to convert it to something that will be more beneficial to the people of the state. We deliberated on it during the state executive council meeting few weeks ago," he said in a telephone interview.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Abubakar Labaran Yusuf faulted the claim of Mallam Shekarau's media aide, saying the project was abandoned a year before the expiration of Shekarau's tenure.
"It is not true that we abandoned the project, they left it the way it is. In fact, it has been like this for a very long time. The project is one of the projects we have reassessed as part of efforts to complete them. We are planning to either convert it to a nschool or something else," he said.
Jafar Jafar, a media aide to Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso said the spokesperson of the former governor of the state was economical with the truth on the project. "They did not spend a year completing our projects as he is claiming. They abandoned our projects and a typical example is the Kwanar Dawaki International Cattle Market that His Excellency initiated during his first tenure to boost the economy of the state. They abandoned it and afterwards they converted it to residential houses for their cronies.
"His Excellency will not allow any project that will be beneficial to the people of the state to rot away. We are not playing politics with the plight of our people. Any project that will bring about meaningful development in the state will be completed including the Zoo road Hospital," he said.