Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Sunday expressed concern over the increasing level of blindness among Nigerians.
Obasanjo expressed his feelings when he addressed hundreds of eye patients who came for free eye test/surgery organised by the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) in Abeokuta.
The former president, who noted that there had been considerable technological advancement in the area of eye surgery, said that “Nigerians should no longer be living with blindness”.
“While such situation could be permissible 50 years back, no justifiable reason can be adduced to it in the present day Nigeria,” he said.
“I was once a victim because I once suffered eye- related ailment and it was the experience that moved me to assist people who were presently going through similar experience.
“I will continue to assist the less-privileged who have eye problems because I myself was once a victim. I had to be operated on before my eyes were restored”.
The former president urged eye patients to abide by whatever instructions the doctors gave them.
Obasanjo’s wife, Bola, who was also at the programme, called for concerted effort to assist the physically challenged in the society.
The Programme Coordinator, Dr Lekan Makinde, said that over 1, 000 people had been treated with over 150 cataracts infected.
He said that the lowest cost of the kind of eye surgery being performed for the people ranged between N150, 000 and N200,000.
Makinde said that the former president insisted that the surgery must be free of charge, stressing that “eye surgery is like a magic or miracle”.
“Many people, who were carried here because they could not see, had walked home by themselves after the surgery,” he said.
One of the beneficiaries from Delta, Mrs Janet Ali, 70, thanked the organisers of the programme for their assistance.
Ali, who claimed to be the bread-winner of her family, said the misfortune befell her three years ago when she suddenly went blind.
“I was a strong woman in spite of my age and used to travel from one city to another to do business.
“My family has suffered a lot since this blindness started three years ago as I could not travel again to trade.
“I spent the little money I was given to buy drugs with little or no improvement.
“In fact, I have lost hope of ever being able to see again, but thank God for this programme which has restored my sight,” she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the programme commenced on Wednesday, May 28 and will end on Tuesday, June 3. [NAN]