Jalal Arabi (middle) during  State House budget defence at the Senate

President Muhammadu Buhari has banned outsiders from receiving treatment at the State House Medical Centre, according to Jalal Arabi, state house permanent secretary.

Arabi said this on Monday when he appeared before the Senate committee on federal character and inter-governmental affairs during a 2019 budget defence session in Abuja.

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He said the facility was initially meant to serve only the first and second families as well as Aso Villa staff.

The presidency official added that while the directive was a case of ‘‘cutting one’s coat according to your cloth”, it will also make the medical centre functional.

Arabi said: “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. 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.”

Arabi also said the centre had a total budget of N1.03 billion in the 2018 budget, with N698 million as capital expenditure and N331.7 million as overhead cost.

He said while the allocation for overhead cost was fully released, only N231.9 million was released for capital expenditure.

TheCable had reported that the clinic lacks basic medical equipment and drugs such as syringe, paracetamol, cotton wool.

Aisha, wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, had also lamented the poor state of the facility.

The House of Representatives subsequently passed a resolution to set up a committee which will probe how the N10.9 billion said to have been released to the clinic from 2015 to 2017, was spent.