June 23, 2024

In a state overwhelmed by kidney disease, Buni’s free dialysis is saving millions of lives

LG Autonomy

Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni

By Ndahi Marama, Damaturu

Governor Mai Mala Buni, in the last five years, has made significant strides in improving Yobe State’s health system, infrastructure, focusing on free dialysis to patients, roads and drainage construction, industries, building ultra-modern markets, model schools and vocational training centres to boost economic growth.

Despite limited resources at his disposal, Buni, while taking the mantle of leadership in his first year tenure, precisely on May 29, 2019, declared a state of emergency in the education, health and many other sectors, with the employment of more qualified teachers and medical personnel.

Recently, the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Baba Malam Wali, addressed journalists in his office in Damaturu the state capital, where he outlined the administration’s achievements over the past five years.

The SSG parley with journalists within and outside the state came after the Commissioner of Home Affairs, Information and Culture, Hon. Abdullahi Bego, and the Director General of Press and Media Affairs, Comrade Mohammed Mamman took journalists round projects executed by the administration across the 17 local government areas of Yobe.

In the health sector, our correspondent observed that, apart from the employment of health personnel, free dialysis has been offered to over 600 patients every month at Yobe State University Teaching Hospital (YSUTH) as approved by the governor.

This is because Yobe has the highest cases of kidney disease or renal failure in the country, as most of the communities on the shores of Yobe/Kumadugu River in northern part of the state suffer most.

Addressing journalists during the tour of projects, the Chief Medical Director of YSUTH, Dr. Baba Waru Goni, said the free dialysis and treatment has been going on for almost six years.

 Research center

 Goni, while receiving the journalists, led by Bego, at the over 400-bed capacity Mamman Ali Maternal and Child Complex built by Buni and commissioned by former President Muhammadu Buhari, said the state-of-the-art facility is not only saving millions of lives, but also serves as referral and research centre in addressing maternal mortality in the North-East.

While taking journalists round the Maternal Unit, especially the Labour, Incubator, In-Born and Out-Born Sections, the CMD said the facility records about 20 to 30 deliveries at once.

“This is the 400- bed capacity Mamman Ali Maternal and Child Complex built by His Excellency, Governor Mai Mala Buni. It is a gigantic facility located within the premises of YSUTH. The facility records about 20 to 30 deliveries at once”, he stated.

“It was established in order to address all forms of maternal mortality issues and child health indices in this part of the country. The over one decade Boko Haram crisis has forced millions of our people into displacement.

“This has led to the influx of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, into Damaturu and environs for safety, which also led to increase in healthcare needs of the population.

“Therefore, Governor Buni, who is committed to the provision of accessible and quality healthcare services, embarked on completion this project that is now put to use and saving millions of lives.

“It will interest you to know that kidney related diseases are so rampant in Yobe, particularly among people residing in the communities along the Yobe/Kumadugu River, and to address the increasing menace of kidney failure, Governor Buni, in collaboration with Ministry of Health and the Biomedical Science Research and Training Centre located at the College of Medical Science, Yobe State University (YSU), runs free dialysis and treatment to over 600 patients on monthly basis at this institution, because treatment of renal failure is very costly and , therefore, this is a great succor to our people.

“As you are also aware of FX, most of the medical consumables are procured from foreign countries, and the average cost of dialysis per patient is about N50, 000, but the state government under the leadership of Governor Buni has graciously approved and directed free dialysis in this hospital”.

 Life-saving Point

 The journalists also visited the multi billion naira Biomedical Science Research and Training Centre located at the College of Medical Science, Yobe State University.

The Commissioner for Higher Education, Professor Bello Kawuwa and the Deputy Vice -Chancellor Administration of University, Professor Musa Lawa, in their separate remarks, commended Buni for establishing and equipping the Centre which has been attested to be one of the best in the country.

According to Lawa, the Centre handles malaria, kidney and dementia as well as research programmes aimed at mitigating outbreaks of diseases not only across Yobe but also the North-East.

“This Centre is a significant Life-saving Research Point because there were many false positive tests of malaria conducted by many laboratories in hospitals and clinics, but after we collated those samples and tests, we rerun it and discovered that most of those false positive tests proved negative beyond reasonable doubt, and you can imagine the danger it posed, as these patients were hitherto and wrongly administered with malaria drugs, while they are negative, and is very dangerous to their health”, he said.

“Presently, this Centre is operating at its temporary site, but Governor Buni has started constructing the permanent site within the university community which is about 70% completed.

“When completed, we will move all our equipment to the new site, as we are still expecting more equipment from abroad.”

 A peep into the activities of the governor across the 17 LGAs of the state shows that Buni, in the last five years, has ensured prudent management of resources as accountability and transparency remains the key cornerstone of his administration.

To this end, many model primary and secondary schools and vocational training institutes, among others, have been constructed and equipped with administrative blocks, staff quarters, conveniences, laboratories and mosques to provide enabling environment for learning and increase students’ enrollment.

Also not left out are roads and drainage construction; in fact, the state government has completed the rehabilitation of key roads such as Katarko-Goniri and Siminti-Godowoli, with ongoing work on the Geidam-Bukarti, Bayamari-Yunusari, and Yunusari-Kanamma roads.

New intercommunity road projects include the Damaturu-Kalallawa 25.5-kilometer dual carriageway, facilitating access to the Muhammadu Buhari International Cargo Airport, and the dualization of the Abattoir Junction-New Bye-pass Roundabout on Potiskum Road to manage high traffic volumes.

Additional projects include the construction of roads connecting various communities such as Damagum-Gubana, Bulanguwa-Kumagannam, Nguru-Bulanguwa, Danchuwa-Garin Abba-Garin Bingel, Chumbusko-Tagali, Nguru Highway-Karasuwa Galu town, Fika-Maluri, Jaji Maji-Karasuwa town, and Kukuri-Chukuriwa-Dawasa.

 500 kilometers of roads

 The state government is also executing township road projects in Damaturu, Nguru, Potiskum, Gashua, and Geidam. In total, over 500 kilometers of roads are under construction, aimed at opening up communities and enhancing socio-economic activities.

To enhance the aesthetic appeal of Damaturu, two City Gates have been completed, with two more under construction, alongside numerous township roads and drainage systems in the state capital and local government headquarters.

Similarly, Buni expended N3.5 billion to build four Ultra Modern Sesame Seeds Cleansing, Processing and Packaging factories.

Yobe is the largest producer of sesame seeds in Nigeria, and the factories are located in Machina, Potiskum, Nguru and Damaturu local government areas.

 Job opportunities

 The state Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Hon. Kaigama Umar said the Machina Factory has the capacity to process and package six tonnes per hour, adding that the motive behind establishing these factories was in line with Buni’s commitment to providing job opportunities, generating revenue and enhancing economic development across Yobe.

His words: “Yobe State is the large producer of sesame seeds in this country, but before the advent of this present administration, our farmers found it very difficult to clean, process and package their products, as all the processes were done locally and hectic.

“To this end, in fulfillment of Governor Buni’s campaign promises aimed at improving livelihood and economic development, he injected N3.5 billion in building four Ultra-Modern Sesame Seeds Cleansing, Processing and Packaging factories.

“As you can see, the one in Machina has been concluded by the contractor (Damuli Engineering and Construction Company limited), and very soon the other ones would be completed and commissioned by Allah’s (God) grace.

“The one here in Machina, as you can see, has the capacity to process and package six tonnes per hour. The motive behind establishing these factories is in line with Governor Buni’s commitment to providing job opportunities, generating revenue and enhancing economic development across Yobe.”

One of the large producers of sesame seeds in Machina, who spoke on behalf of other farmers, Mallam Rabiu Adamu, applauded the governor for establishing such factory in Machina as, according to him, thousands of farmers would benefit from the gesture.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner took the journalists round the multi-billion Ultra Modern Market in Nguru which has over 600 shops, administrative block, warehouse, mosque, conveniences and stalls. He explained that, in Gashua town, similar market with over 500 shops were built and allocated to deserving traders based on the list submitted to the ministry by heads of cooperative unions and business associations.

Umar noted that, apart from the Gashua market that was named after former Senate President Ahmed Lawan, and that of Nguru, named after elder statesman, Sheikh Muhammad Ngibirima, similar markets are sited in Potiskum, Gaidam and Damaturu local government areas.

Also visited was the N4 billion Trailers Transit Camp located in Potiskum town which is about 60% compled even as the Yobe State International Cargo Airport in Damaturu is also receiving the desired intervention to make it functional.

SSG Wali, during his parley with the journalists, stressed the improvement in the security situation in Yobe.

He said, “The state is now safer than the 35 states in the country, and investors are free to come and tap the economic potentials under the leadership of Governor Mai Mala Buni”.

According to him, attacks of Boko Haram between 2013 and 2023 in the state have reduced to the barest level in conducting various economic activities.

Wali noted that before Buni assumed the mantle of leadership, there were many inaccessible communities due to the threats posed by terrorists in Gulani and Gujba LGAs, pointing out that almost all the communities are safe after IDPs were relocated with support from government and developing partners.

“With the state government commitment, supported by the Federal Government, military, developing partners, security agencies, vigilante groups and concerned stakeholders, Yobe is now peaceful for doing business, as total peace has been restored by God grace”, he said.

The SSG declared that normalcy has returned to the insurgency most-ravaged areas, including the border communities of Geidam, Yusufari, Yunusari and Nguru LGAs.

Wali added that reconstruction, resettlement and rehabilitation (RRR) of affected communities have been completed.

“Buni/Yadi community has been developed while that of Malamdunari is being carried out satisfactorily at present.

“In almost all parts of the state, people are now moving about pursuing their legitimate goals without hindrance.”


 On manpower training to boost Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), he said that in consolidating the achievements of successive administrations, measures were also put in place to boost IGR of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

“We’re strengthening the Treasury Single Account (TSA) by adopting reforms with new approaches to reduce leakages in the execution of government businesses,” he said.

According to him, TSA has recorded a lot of achievements in the implementation of policies, including the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), State Fiscal, Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS), as well as the Electronic Government Procurement System (e-GP), the state government policies have led to the commendations made by the Federal Ministry of Finance and the World Bank.

He added: “The World Bank awarded us a grant of $5 million for the implementation of reforms that align with world best practices in procurement, Annual Auditor General’s Report and other fiscal reforms in the state.”