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Last Updated: Friday, 15 February 2008, 16:51 GMT
Unused hospital razed in Nigeria
Burnt hospital
The governor blamed arsonists trying to damage his reputation
A fully-equipped hospital that lay unused for two years has burned to the ground in northern Nigeria.

The General Hospital in Maiduguri was built in 2006 but the state government refused to open it until the president came to cut the ribbon.

Several surgical theatres, the intensive care ward, and the clinical section which held millions of dollars of equipment were all destroyed.

The president was due to visit the hospital next month to open it.

Borno State Governor Ali Modu Sheriff blamed the fire on arsonists who wanted to damage his political reputation.

The governor had refused to open the hospital, which was ready for patients in June 2006, until former President Olusegun Obasanjo came to the state.

There is not one hospital owned by a state government that has the type of world class equipment we had in there
Ali Modu Sheriff,
Governor of Borno state

His visit was postponed several times, the last being just two months before the election in 2007.

His successor Umaru Yar'adua was due to visit later next month.

Borno was recently hit by a measles outbreak that killed hundreds of children across three states.

Existing hospitals in Borno are poorly equipped and overcrowded.

Angry residents of Bulunkutu, where the hospital was situated, gathered around the burned hospital and shouted abuse at the alleged arsonists, local papers reported.

The governor addressed the arsonists through the media.

"There is not one hospital in the country owned by a state government that has the type of world class equipment we had in there. It is their people that would have benefitted," he told reporters at the scene.

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