LOCAL residents living near former president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s Abeokuta mansion have expressed opposition to his plans to open up the house as an isolation centre for anyone who has tested to coronavirus saying it puts them at risk.
Last week, Chief Obasanjo offered his former home at the Presidential Hilltop Estate, Abeokuta, to the Ogun State government as isolation centre. On Friday, Chief Obasanjo’s spokesman Kehinde Akinyemi, announced the donation of the 32-room house, saying it was his contribution to the fight against the deadly pandemic.
However, several senior residents on the estate have said they were not comfortable with having a Covid-19 isolation centre in their neighbourhood. They added that they believed the isolation centre would expose them to the risk of contracting the highly communicable disease, particularly given the vulnerability of old people to the virus.
One of the senior citizens said they had already written a save-our-soul letter on the matter and will deliver it to Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State this week. It was written by the Presidential Hilltop Residents Association and signed by five elders including the ex-primate of the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion Dr Peter Akinola, industrialist Chief Olatunde Abud, Chief Babatunde Oke, Chief Yinka Kufile and Alhaji Muftau Adegbenro.
“We read it in the news with rude shock and disbelief that the former president has donated his former residence located at the Presidential Hilltop Estate in Abeokuta to be used as isolation centre for victims of the dreaded coronavirus disease. While we thank the former president for his patriotic and philanthropic gesture, the purpose of this gift at this point in time is utterly reprehensible and therefore unacceptable.
“As elders, we have discussed and we have made our position known in the letter which shall be delivered to the office of His Excellency, the Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun, as soon as possible. There is no doubt that citing such an isolation centre in a residential estate is highly inimical and indeed a threat to the health of residents, many of whom are old people, who are more vulnerable to the attack of the dreaded pandemic.
“Should the government accept this gift for the intended purpose, would it not be a wilful invitation to the untimely death of the aged in this community? For instance, Baba Olatunde Abudu is well over 91 years old and most of us are in our late and early 70s,” the senior citizen added.
He expressed confidence that aged old residents of the Presidential Hilltop Estate had confidence that the governor would come to their aid. “We have no doubt that Governor Dapo Abiodun will save our soul from this donation from the former president,” the elder added.