It was hardly surprising when some years ago, when the First Lady then, Hajia Turai Yar’Adua, brought all the movers and shakers of the Nigerian economy under one roof and sold to them her idea to build a world class health centre, International Cancer Centre, where research and treatment of cancer and other related diseases would be conducted for societal benefit.

By the time the sensitization and fund-raising event was over, about N10 billion was realized. Alhaji Aminu Dantata handsomely donated N1.2 billion (the highest donation), while his nephew, Aliko Dangote donated N1 billion on behalf of the Dangote Foundation. Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, the Governor of Niger State who led the Governors’ Forum contributed N720 million towards the project and 15 members of the National Assembly also donated N7.5 million. Turai’s fund-raiser ceremony was indeed a monumental success. However, few years down the lane, Nigeria is yet to benefit from the highly celebrated scheme. There is no indication that the money realized from the fund-raiser has been put to good use in the interest of the fatherland and cancer victims across the country.

However, according to an online report, “Despite securing a partnership agreement with a key organ of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, about eight years ago, and raising billions of naira in cash and materials from public and private donors, the International Cancer Centre Abuja, ICCA, a pet project of a former Nigerian First Lady, Turai Yar’Adua, is in a state of abandonment overtaken by weeds. At the sprawling centre built on 7.3 hectares of choice land donated by the Federal Government of Nigeria, rotting equipment, including about 200 donated mini-buses, scream a sad story of unfathomable waste at passers-by”