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Buhari Commissions Navy Hospital, Rice Seedling Factory In Calabar

President Buhari commissioning the Cross River State automated rice seedling factory

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Calabar commissioned the 43-year-old Nigerian Navy Reference Hospital in Calabar, the Cross River State capital city.

The foundation for the hospital was laid in 1975 during the military regime of General Yakubu Gowon. Successive administrations abandoned the project until 2007 when it was revived.

The President who reassured Nigerians of his administration’s drive to continually provide affordable healthcare services added that his government placed premium on the welfare and well-being of security personnel who work tirelessly to maintain peace in the country.

He said that the reference hospital would improve the quality of healthcare delivering to naval personnel, their families and the public.

“The importance of this facility cannot be over-emphasised, most importantly for the personnel of the Armed Forces in view of the enormousmental 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 public.

“I charge the Navy to ensure sustenance of this high standard hospital. This will help to realise the value of resources committed into the project.

“Our investment in healthcare and accommodation for military personnel will help them to bring out their best in national security.
The Nigerian Navy Reference Hospital, Calabar
“I want to commend the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete-Ibas, and the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin for realising these great projects", he said.

The President also commissioned the 100 units model bricks accommodation at Atimbo Navy barracks for officers of the Eastern Naval Command.

Also speaking, the chief of naval staff said that “although work commenced on the facility in 1980 as a project of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, it suffered slow progress and was eventually handed over to Ministry of Defence in 1994.

“By 2012 when the Nigerian Navy took over the project, it was barely at 30 per cent completion over the 32 years construction period.

“A renewed commitment was however made in 2016 by the Nigerian Navy administration to deliver the hospital better than it was originally conceptualised.”

Earlier, the Minister of State for Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, lauded the Navy for the achievement even as he said that the people of Cross River were blessed to have the project coming into full operation.

Earlier, the President had commissioned the Cross River State seedlings and seed multiplication factory, a project he described as people-oriented project.

President Buhari said the project was in line with his administration's zero oil economic roadmap with Cross River Governor,  Senator Ben Ayade becoming a reference point in that vision.

His words: "When we assumed the rein of leadership of our dear country, our administration launched a zero-oil economic roadmap as a way of making our country less dependent on oil, while encouraging investments in other sectors of the economy, particularly agriculture.

"I am happy that Governor Ayade keyed into that policy and has today become the reference point in our agricultural revolution effort."

While emphasising the significance of the event, President Buhari said: "That we are gathered here today is no doubt a determination woven through to precision and a glowing testament to the fact that the policy is working."

"The factory, said to be the first in Africa, is an automated plant with a capacity to produce high yielding vitaminized and disease resistant rice seedlings," Buhari said.

On the impact of the seedlings factory on the economy, the President said: "Seedlings from this factory will improve rice yield from the current national average of 3 to 4 tons per hectare to about 9 to 10 tons per hectare, thus helping to ensure rice sufficiency in the country and doing away with import and saving foreign exchange for Nigeria.

"Besides creating employment opportunities for the unemployed, I have no doubt that this rice factory will also be a veritable platform for income generation for Cross River."

In his address, Governor Ayade said the state was aware of the President's focus which inspired the decision to invest in agro-allied industries which include the cocoa processing industry, banana Plantation, soya bean, calapharm, Instant noodles, rice mill, among others.

"These are all products of your discussion with me each time I have to meet with you and therefore, everything Cross River gives me and the entire people of Cross River credit," Ayade said.
President Muhammadu Buhari 6407473607038103178

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