Elders tackle Obasanjo over ex-residence’s donation as isolation centre

Senior citizens resident on the Presidential Hilltop Estate, Abeokuta, Ogun State, have kicked against the decision of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to donate his former residence on the estate for use as an isolation centre for suspected COVID-19 patients.

Obasanjo had, on Friday, in a statement by his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, announced the donation of his 32-room house on the estate to the Ogun State Government for use as an isolation centre, saying it was his contribution to the fight against the deadly viral disease.

But senior residents on the estate said they were not comfortable having a COVID-19 isolation centre in their neighbourhood.

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 disease.

Speaking with our correspondent on the telephone on Sunday, one of the senior citizens said they had already penned a Save-Our-Soul letter on the situation and would deliver it to Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State this week.

The senior citizen disclosed that the SoS letter was written by the Presidential Hilltop Residents Association and signed by five elders – ex-Primate, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Dr Peter Akinola; industrialist, Chief Olatunde Abudu; Chief Babatunde Oke, Chief Yinka Kufile and Alhaji Muftau Adegbenro.”

He added, “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 siting 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 willful 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 elder explained that aged old residents of the Presidential Hilltop Estate had confidence that the governor would come to their aid.

He said, “We sincerely appreciate the various steps being taken by the governor to curtail the spread of COVID-19 and we also pray for the quick recovery of the victims across the nations as well as permanent stop to this deadly virus.

“We have no doubt that Governor Dapo Abiodun will save our soul from this donation from the former President.”