Eight years after raising billions, Turai Yar’Adua’s Cancer Centre remains abandoned, overtaken by weeds

Turai Yar’Adua’s Cancer Centre
Current state of the Turai Yar’Adua’s Cancer Centre

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.

Last December, investigation by PREMIUM TIMES revealed that burglars stormed the centre strategically located along the Abuja airport expressway and carted away power cables worth millions of naira. It is not known how many other equipment have been pilfered from the locked up buildings that gape at the public from the centre.

Mrs. Yar’Adua had in July 2009, two years after her husband, the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, took office, flagged off the project with an elaborate fundraising event to mobilise N10 billion for the construction of the centre.

The exact amount raised from donors, including public and private officials, was not disclosed.

According to the then First Lady’s speech on the occasion, the ICCA emanated from her deep concern for the vulnerable and less-privileged Nigerians suffering from the burden of cancer.

“My resolve to stand up to the menace of cancer is occasioned by the devastating effects of the disease on our population,” she had stated.

“The more enlightened and financially capable among Nigerians suffering from cancer have been able to travel out to seek professional and medical attention in the form of diagnosis and treatment,” she added to emphasise she had been motivated to embark on the project by a concern for poor Nigerians.

This concern apparently resonated across the public and private sectors, given the support Mrs. Yar’Adua instantly received for the project from the federal government and state governors who donated huge sums, as well as from other philanthropists.


More support quickly flowed in from beyond Nigerian shores as Mrs. Yar’Adua in September 2009 signed an agreement with the Division of Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT), a department of the IAEA.

According to a press release on PACT’s website, the agreement covers public awareness raising and education, assessment of the cancer incidence profile, interventions and targets to strengthen national capacity, determination of priority actions, identification of successful projects/programmes in the short-term, resource mobilisation, including the elaboration of joint grant applications as appropriate, and monitoring and evaluation practices.

The then IAEA Deputy Director, Werner Burkart, was on hand to sign the agreement, which the agency believed was a major step towards fighting the cancer scourge in Nigeria and on the African continent.

When PREMIUM TIMES contacted PACT on the current status of the 2009 agreement with the ICCA, an official said no work has been undertaken under the agreement. The agency however stated that it considers the agreement to still be in force.


According to reports, Mrs. Yar’Adua conceived the idea of the ICCA after an official visit to MD Anderson Cancer Centre, Houston, Texas on March 17, 2008.

The MD Anderson Cancer Centre has an interesting historical background which could have provided the ICCA a guide to becoming a centre of excellence for cancer care and research in sub-Saharan Africa.

The MD Anderson Cancer Centre was established with equal funding from the Texas Legislature and a private organisation, MD Anderson Foundation. The only condition made by the foundation for contributing fund was for the centre to be situated in Houston and named after Anderson.

Moreover, the centre was created by an act of the state legislature as part of The University of Texas system. It is currently affiliated with two research-based medical schools, The University of Texas Health Centre and Baylor College of Medicine.

On its part, the ICCA is totally under the private control of its funder and has no affiliation with any public institution in Nigeria.

It would be recalled that Mrs. Yar’Adua ceased to be First Lady of Nigeria following the death of her husband in 2010 following a prolonged illness. Since then, she has kept out of public view and has not attracted any further public support for the ICCA.


Speaking to PREMIUM TIMES during the World Cancer Commemoration event organised by Project Pink Blue, a participant, Mohammed Usman, suggested that the founder’s change of political fortunes could have affected the ICCA.

“It is unfortunate. For instance, part of our problem in Nigeria is lack of continuity. If that cancer centre was completed, probably the number of deaths we have had would not have happened. But it was abandoned, maybe for political reasons”, Mr. Usman, the deputy chairman of the House of Representatives committee on health services, stated.

“I read that our former president, Ibrahim Babangida, just returned from outside the country where he went to receive medical attention and today, our dear President also is outside receiving what? Medical attention! You see, it is an embarrassment to Nigeria.”

Ironically, many of the “enlightened and financially capable Nigerian cancer patients that travel abroad for medical attention” mentioned by Mrs. Yar’Adua in her 2009 fundraising speech may no longer afford to do so because of the recession in Nigeria. Still, the ICCA that could have provided them succour has not been able to take off.

Efforts by PREMIUM TIMES to speak with Mrs. Yar’Adua for this report were unsuccessful as we were told she was in London.

Security men did not allow reporters into the centre or agree to facilitate contact with any of the officials.

The Director-General of the Shehu Yar’Adua Centre in the Central Business District of Abuja, Jackie Farris, agreed to forward our inquiries to Mrs. Yar’Adua and her spokesperson.

The questions were sent and no reply gotten after several weeks.

Meanwhile, the 200 mini-buses parked in the premises of the ICCA have been caked by dust.


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  • Rommel

    There is palpable evidence to support the belief in some quarters that the African is not yet fit for the type of civilization that the world brought on us,we may disagree but the evidence is everywhere for all to see

    • Victoria

      She has no more money to steal to support the project since she is no more in government forever. Everything about this her cancer project is a scam in the first place.

      • kusanagi

        Yup, no one calling her again because they don’t need favours from her husband.

        No one needs to waste money donating because she bear zero influence.

        She’s essentially a no body now.

      • NwaIgbo

        Projects, Constituency projects,contracts and contracts are all conduits for stealing by mindless thieving Nigerians.
        Give one reason we still don’t have electricity like other human beings?
        Abuja Centenary Project- what was all that about?

    • Epsilon_Delta

      That was why the Nazi’s categorized us as subhumans. It’s not just Africans… it’s like that wherever blacks govern themselves, from Africa to South America(Haiti, Jamaica), from Atlantic Island to Pacific Islands.

      • Apostel

        also correct

        • Wale


      • kusanagi

        Look at the state Detroit in America.

        Over 80% of the population in Detroit are black. Black governor and black leadership.

        The state went bankrupt.

        • Wale

          Ever heard of Detroit Michigan?
          do a little research before posting.

    • Apostel

      very correct

    • kusanagi

      Absolutely 100%. Don’t let the PC brigade tell you otherwise.

      It’s obvious that the moment the colonialists left the country things went backwards.

      SA is SA because of the whites. The moment apartheid ended that countries gone backwards. Zimbabwe was once the jewell of Africa. They chased out the whites, it’s now one of the worst economies in the world.

    • Sanssouci

      I hate to agree with you, but facts speak for themselves.

  • absam777

    Typical wastage by ‘money miss road’ people

  • Nkem

    And to think that we have been more obsessed with a certain presidential library in Abeokuta which has since been completed and open for use, even hosting a UNESCO center. From what I read, it looks to me like money was raised for the presidential library project the same way the cancer center was financed.

    I am beginning to believe that Nigerians are just in love with abandoned projects. I bet some people would have been happier if the library project never saw the light of the day or if the initiator simply collected the money and used it to buy and expensive villa in France, or shopping mall in Dubai.

    • Apostel

      not to forget the “Drunkard Jonny National Library” in Abuja

    • thusspokez

      You are talking rubbish! What exactly is your point or the purpose of your comparison? Just a few days ago, the Nigerian VP was complaining about the many abandoned, incomplete projects in the Niger Delta. And mind you that OBJ presided over some of those failed projects. But we should forget all that because he has just completed his library built with looted public funds?

      • Nkem

        Give me one example of a project which Obj started that he abandoned.

        • Tunji Olarewaju

          Ibadan -Ilorin expressway is just one of many. Need further samples?

  • thusspokez

    “My resolve to stand up to the menace of cancer is occasioned by the devastating effects of the disease on our population,” she had stated.

    Obviously, her intention was good but what project management skills does a house wife have to manage such a big project? Of course, abandoned and incomplete projects are littered all over Nigeria. But at least, she didn’t embezzle ans share the money and not start the project — as is often the case in Nigeria.

    Most of these donors are looters, hence they don’t care how their donations are used. I can’t imagine myself donating a lot of money towards a course and not demanding to know how it is being used by the recipient. It would seem that in Nigeria, there is no law to oversee the charities, their sources and expenditures of funds.

    • Gary

      And you know for a fact that solicited funds were not embezzled on a project that has since been abandoned? Pray tell us how? Are you privy to any probe of the funds and why the project was abandoned as soon as Turai, who now shuttles homes between London, Dubai and Katsina, left office and could no longer sign federal budgets in the name of her husband?

      Please tell us, we are all ears. For we have been told that only Patience Jonathan profited from influence-peddling as First Lady.

  • George

    And the present Bingo wife from other rooms is doing the same things now.

    I hate Mallams.

  • Sword of Damocles

    all of this is talking too much. Any one with an Iota of discernment can see that Nigeria’s LEGACY so far after its 57 year existence as a sovereign state is simple…..STEALING. Nothing else, and who has facilitated the UNPRECEDENTED looting? why, it is our treasonous Ruling Elites(yes I sound like a broken record)!! The reason I harp on this point, is because “nothing that is worthwhile, is EASY” . Look at all the Countries that claim to practice this form of rule of law democracy that Nigeria purports to practice today. EVERY single one, has to reject & EVICT their ruling elites. The US? the American revolution of 1776 was about “taxation without representation” from England’s Mad King George III. The UK? they CHOPPED of the heads of 2 kings to resist the tyranny of absolute monarchy(ruling elites). France? French revolution of 1789 that attempted to wipe out the Aristocracy, after separating Louis XVI head from his neck(all this to destroy the tyranny of absolute monarchy). Russia? Any one who has studied the revolution of 1917, can extrapolate the epochal significance of that revolution(the destruction of serfdom, amongst other things). Even Before the establishment of Nigeria, Gobbir Kingdom was upended by the Uthsman Dan Fodio’s revolution to establish the Sokoto Caliphate. Point is nothing will go RIGHT for our fatherland, UNTIL the ruling elites are DEALT WITH. Do you notice the tread that encompasses all the examples I provided? Not once did the Ruling elites relinquish power VOLUNTARILY. It had to be SNATCHED… “from their cold dead hands”
    Long live the FRN, Long live our ancestors, long live the BLACK MAN.

  • Arabakpura

    The place has been overtaken by a cancerous weed!

    • Holy Seer


      The death of the last Christian in Nigeria

      The Lagos State government
      under the personal control of Alhaji Bola Tinubu as Islamist Capone,
      quarterbacks Islamic Jihad in Yorubaland and fills up 80% of top government
      with mostly unmerited Muslims. Last year, the Lagos state government pretended
      to be a defendant but instead it fell down before a raft of Islamist Plaintiffs as the
      Lagos state High Court blithely declared the wearing of the Islamist Hijab as a
      fundamental human right in all schools in Lagos state and Nigeria. By parity of
      reason, the taqiyah – a small rounded cap worn by Muslim men, also called kuffi
      – is now a compulsory apparel in all schools, also as fundamental human right.
      The useful idiots called Christians just mope like educated goats as the Muslims
      overthrow and override Nigeria.

      I read here with amusement today that Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi of Kano
      wants Islamist Arabic language – the language of the Holy Koran – made mandatory
      in all Nigerian schools. My amusement is that the call was very un-necessary because
      it goes without saying that sooner or later Nigeria will become a full-blown Islamic
      state. There are simply no Christians in the northern, central or western Yoruba
      regions of Nigeria but throngs of miracle searchers in pursuit of wealth. As of real
      Christians living by faith and shunning theft in favour of the Ten Commandments,
      there are no Christians in northern or western Nigeria.

      • Holy Seer

        ………..(2) The death of the last Christian in Nigeria

        Despite the showmanship of Pastors Adeboye, Kumuyi and and Oyakhilome, the
        country (Nigeria) has moved faster towards an Islamic state and farther away from
        a community of Christians. Bigamy has been legalized by the Lagos State House
        of Assembly under Alhaji Bola Tinubu’s Islamic directions, contrary to Biblical
        injunction. There are no Ecclesiastical Courts for Christians allowed or even
        existent in Nigeria today, but by contrast, Sharia courts are constitutionally
        authorized to exist everywhere for the Muslims in Nigeria.

        • Agbalagba


          YEMI ADEOLA – the Managing Director of STERLING BANK – was caught red-handed in moneylaundering of a whopping sum of $143 million stolen from NNPC which he kept
          away from the bank’s balance sheet as overt act in proof of the offence itself. But see,
          Yemi Adeola sits in his office as if nothing can happen, but that’s only because he is
          a Muslim with the necessary Islamist credentials to declare himself above the laws
          and the Constitution of Nigeria. Bankers who committed far less offence were
          dragged on the ground by overzealous Islamist Police and law-enforcement
          agents in Nigeria since those ones are not Muslims. Nobody need be told
          what APC means for the total destruction of equal justice in Nigeria,
          but Christians will learn from the flogging they’re getting to beware
          of Muslims the next time round when told to wave broom for Jihad.

          • Uncle Bee


            President Vladimir Putin of Russia and President Ronald Trump are the only two Christians
            left because only two of them have the clarity of purpose to see the menace of Islam – or;
            what you guys call the cancer of Islam, ravaging Nigeria, upending human civilization with
            barbarism, illiteracy and thefts with impunity. Nigerian Pastors, Bishops and Reverends are
            not so much morons as empty-headed in their singular attention on tithes and offerings to be collected from the usually naïve laity who are deluded they’ll reap cash rewards for their tithe

            But for Presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump Christianity might have been extinguished by mass murder in the hands of Islamic terrorists – none of whom has any respect for democracy or
            rule of law, to the same extent that no tenet in Islam is compatible with democracy; neither the
            mass murder of Christians the Koran exhorts as a creed or the enslavement of captives the
            Hadith beatifies. Yoruba Christians are the worst of all Christians in Nigeria.

            The Pastors and priests want to be personally adored for dancing steps than for knowledge of the scriptures if assessed by their personal fidelity to scriptural creed. Since example is lot better than precept, Nigerian Pastors are an utter historical tragedy on high heels in the face of Islamist Jihad.

      • Arabakpura

        Since the discussion is about cancer, are you saying there is another form of cancer called Islamic cancer?

        • Pointsblank





        • straight-to-the-point



          • The Nationlist


            I think Muslims must stop the nonsense they are doing.
            Nobody likes to associate with people who behave like animals all over the place.
            A typical Muslim is likely to be an illiterate in Nigeria because of the low value Muslims
            put on knowledge, because the same Koran that urges pursuit of knowledge in first verse
            goes on to ask all Muslims in later chapter to also be murderous criminals who must kill any
            Christian or Jew wherever Christians and Jews be found. The foundation of global terrorism
            was sown in the Koran; and therefore, Islamist terrorism is an apt description of mad Muslims.

        • Pastor J.J.Jones

          @arabakpura:disqus : The love of money is the root of all evil; which, while some coveted
          after, they erred from faith and pierced themselves with sorrows. For what
          shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? The
          getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro, of those
          who seek death. There are thorns and snares on the path of the crooked. One who
          guards himself prudently will stay far from the crooked.

        • Jayjay



    • George

      Oh yes, Islamic cancer, Tinubukuru cancer Bingo Buhari Cancer even other rooms Aisha cancerous

  • mary


  • Eja

    That is a very nice picture. If all thieves looked like Hajiya Turai, stealing would not be a crime in my court. In fact, all thieves who look like her will be invited to come see me in Chambers so I can thoroughly examine their briefs…mmmmmmm…

  • Gwang

    Who really expected a perfect illiterate road side hair dressing Salon owner to manage millions talk less of billions? It is only in Nigeria where anything and anybody however dumb can become president that such absurdities prevail. She can’t even manage the illness of her husband. What really can she manage apart from buying red lip sticks? Wearing designer shoes and wrist watches. Anybody still asking where the monies went?

  • Franc

    See her face like rotten shit

    • larro ejele

      Calm down bro, the initiative on its own was commendable, perhaps the viability was misplaced and not well processed? Whatever it is, as much as I understand your anger, let reasoning drive progress. Stay blessed.

  • Adele Uhuru

    May be Just May be we will award another grass cutting contract to the SFG and his cronies to see to the disposal of the grass invasion ?

  • FuzzyLogic

    That is the fate of Nigeria. Ill-conceived projects. No thoughts given to sustainability. Wasted resources.

  • Jimi

    Project is a land grab. The government should take the land back and complete the project. The money raised under the guise of charity should be returned to the donors. Period.

    • ubong

      She can never be touched or investigated, unless she is Patience and from never expected to govern Nigeria. If you are bold enough request EFCC to dare invite this lady or frozen her account and see if the EFCC Chairman wont go the next moment for daring to challenge someone with a special blood. Just like asking Magu what happen to the case of his predecessor Ibrahim Larmorde, the erstwhile EFCC chairman, who was accused of diverting our discovered collective wealth looted by the likes of sarakis and former PDP criminals, now in APC as saints, for personal assest.

    • muhammadunfagge

      Agreed. However, if the government can continue the project, this is a clarion call for them, free of charge by Premium Times.

  • Jimi

    There are almost no Christians or Muslims in Nigeria. The few genuine ones are hardly heard from. The millions you see on tv, churches and mosques are masquerades. If you ever find one please let me know. All those shouting louder than megaphones here are hypocrites. Since independence Nigeria has been led by leaders claiming to be Muslims or Christians and 99% of the ministers and officials were Christians or Muslims. If this is correct then who stole all the money since both religions abhor stealing and corruption. second base jare according to Fela!

    • ezelor

      Agree with you 100 percent.
      Most Nigerians have a totally different concept of what Christianity really means. The ones stealing the people’s money even regard that as answered prayer, and ‘thank God’ for opening such opportunity to them. Then they take a large portion of the loot and donate to the TV preachers, so God will bless them with more loot. Isn’t that why Nigerian preachers are the richest in the world? Nation of hypocrites.

  • muhammadunfagge

    This is very bad. Nigeria lacked management and managers. Every civil servant does as he wishes. I am very sure that Center must have been under the custody of a Nigerian Ministry where a minister is assigned. But look at what we get now. The money, probably looted and embezzled, the land space wasted, the facilities abandoned. With all these waste, if the government of the day can continue the project, people will benefit. This is a clarion call for them, free of charge by Premium Times.

    • Weydem

      @muhammadunfagge:disqus: Lagos sinks further because Akin Ambode
      schooling as just an accountant is too narrow and almost too irrelevant to the
      question of retrieving Lagos from the cul-de-sac Raji Fashola thrust it in and
      putting on a road of coherent development. Tarring existing roads is not the
      meaning of development. But Raji Fashola did not know better, but now, Akin
      Ambode too may not know better.

  • Eko ti baje ju


    Eko ti baje ju O!

    Charlatans are inflicted on Lagos in
    turns by Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu – a plea bargained drugs-running criminal
    on U.S court records
    – to loot and Lagos into becoming an un-governed territory
    of murderers, illiterates and thieves who now outnumber the crooks, rapists and
    counterfeiters in the Lagos today. The effect is that Lagos is sinking under the
    sea, so to say, just like the abandoned Eko Atlantic project – which makes no
    sense to human development right at conception.

    Akin Ambode is as empty-headed as Raji Fashola
    he complains of. But for the mediocre Bola Tinubu and the usually blundering Muhamadu
    Buhari, neither Akin Ambode nor Raji Fashola would ever be in charge of a state, not with
    with their low level intelligence quotient which is almost at par. In fact, once the moronic
    Alhaji Raji Fashola showed up, Lagos sank at once into a sea of illiterates and became an
    unliveable mess as the 3rd worst city in the world on a researched finding made by the
    Global Economic Intelligence Unit.

  • Okokondem

    It appears my persistence is finally paying off. For the longest time I have challenged PT to do more INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING exposing malfeasance in the public sector. Kudos to PREMIUM TIMES!

    There are plenty where this came from. Nigeria’s landscape is littered with unfathomable, sad and unfortunate stories such as this. Whether these funds are raised through budget appropriations, private-public partnerships or fundraising as in this case it doesn’t matter. It’s always the same outcome: nothing to show for the money.

    One thing is for sure, Nigerians need to know about more of these failures in management of public funds.

  • larro ejele

    What were the mini buses acquired for?!! …misplaced priorities? Mass transit? 10 years after, still on the one spot? Crazy nation, lofty motives?…..shame, shame, shame!!..anything to milk the cow!…just milk the goddamned cow, dont matter if the milk is spilled right next to the bearer!

  • sammyctu ode

    EFCC MUST make this woman account for the over N80 Billion she collected and must be prosecuted for fraud and deceit If she can’t account for the money. This is how she will use the money to sponsor illiterates to the NA resulting in Nigeria dancing in the village square cos criminals have taken over our NA and governors mansions.

  • shola

    We Nigerians lack empathy. The NASS is aware of this mess, yet they turn deaf ears and blind eyes to it all.

  • Abdullah Musa

    It is a question of lack of personal motivation.
    Her family has enough resources to bring the centre to life, but will not do so because it is easier to spend or waste the money of others.
    PT has done a good job, but walk a step further to the Health Minister’s office.

  • Impulse400

    It should be obvious to any discerning mind that in this day and age, any fund raising done in Nigeria in the name of fighting cancer or HIV/AIDS is a White Elephant PONZI Scheme.

  • Iwonder

    Kudos PT for this remarkable investigative work that exposes the true nature of those in the corridors of power in Nigeria. They are a bunch of opportunists who lack the genuine passion and commitment to alleviating the misery of fellow Nigerians. Where a man’s heart is, there will his resources be (no matter the change in fortunes)!

  • Adele Uhuru

    If they Jonathan family was part of this alleged scam EFFC and DSS would have mobilized into action already dishing out media propaganda with no regard for justice or equity………….

    • Pawa2

      It is not a scam. It is obvious Mrs Yar Adua could not continue the project because she no longer had a political mandate. If Jonathan was a good president, he would have stepped in to ensure this worthwhile project did not rot away. The man Jonathan has no humanity in him.

      • Adele Uhuru

        Oh yeah its all about Jonathan – if a tree fall in the forest downed by a moronic Fulani or Hausa ya’ll will call out Jonathan as though it was his fault. But listen, it has worked just quite well for you all lately if you remember this was the same progression whence Boko Haram reared its ugly head – you all were busy blaming Jonathan as always whilst Your deranged Shakue killed and murdered your brothers as though they are none human- But hey stay with it have worked miracles for you guy right you now have the mantled of leadership at the center………..moron why is the Buhari administration not working with your thieving sister to see this through rather than fly out to UK every 3 month for teeth cleaning?

  • NoSpinEd

    The ICCA should never have been a stand-alone white elephant project. It should have been part of the reseach arm of the department of medicine of an existing university with international staffing and continuous funding. That is the lesson we have refused to learn from the Houston cancer project that inspired it.

  • Tijani

    The government should take over the cancer centre project and complete it. No need to abuse Turai when Aisha is following in the same footsteps. Wasn’t that bus she commmisioned the same mobile ambulance clinic belonging to Yaradua?

  • Ibukun Bandele


  • E don do Niaja

    Lack of continuity!

  • Oluwaseun Olotin

    i think the government should take over the facility and upgrade it. it is so unfortunate billions upon billions that cater for the needs of the citizens is tied down in form of property and wasting away.

  • JOHN

    Where is the public money mobilized then? How much is it? If this was a southern former first lady, all the northern dominated security agencies would be after her to give account. Why have they not frozen her account the way they frooze Mrs Jonathan’s account? This apparent discrimination must stop for Nigeria to move forward in progress.