The Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs for the 2019 budget defence on Monday was told that the plan to revert the State House Medical Centre to a clinic was President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to make the facility functional.
Speaking before the Senate committee, Mr Jalal Arabi, the Permanent Secretary, State House, Abuja, stated that “Without prejudice to what is currently obtainable at SHMC, the intention to revert to a clinic is a Presidential directive. This is to make sure that the facility is functional and serves the purpose for which it was established, ab initio.”
Later, Arabi explained to journalists after the budget defence that the reversion of the Centre to a Clinic was a case of ‘‘cutting one’s coat according to your cloth.”
In a statement by Attah Esa, the Deputy Director, Information, State House, Arabi said, “It was initially meant to serve the first and second families and those working within and around the Villa.
“The overstretching of facilities at the Medical Centre by patients is some of the challenges the Centre have been going through. It wasn’t meant for that purpose.
“Nobody was charging anyone for any services and relying on appropriation means we will depend on subvention when it comes to run the Centre.
‘‘Whatever comes is what you utilise and if the last patient comes in to take the last drugs based on the last budgetary release, that is it and we have to wait till another release is done.
“But this new development means that services will be streamlined to a clinic that will serve those that it was meant to serve when it was conceived,’’ the Permanent Secretary said.