By Samuel Oyadongha

When the news went round the oil rich but rural communities of Ogbia council area of Bayelsa State that people with eye related ailments should converge on Otuoke, there was skepticism.

The 5-day medical mission was put in place by a Non Governmental Organisation, Body Enhancement Foundation, in collaboration with the Nigeria Customs Service, Trenuer, Dana Group and other organisations, at Otuoke Cottage Hospital.

It highlighted the high number of persons with eye-related ailments in the pollution-ridden communities as a result of endless gas flaring and activities of the multinationals.

Persons tested and given drugs, and reading glasses, also benefitted from the free rice distributed at the venue.

The Founder and President, BEF, Modupe Ozoluwa, said the Foundation had undertaken the mission for 11 years and that Bayelsa was selected after a lucky dip by a group of medical doctors on the team.

“We are here to donate food items, 600 bags of 50 kg rice and to offer free medical mission to the people of Bayelsa State. We are doing this in collaboration with the Nigeria Customs Service, Immigration and other organisations.

“During this mission, which will take place for five days, comprising the eight local government areas in the state, we are offering free ophthalmology, giving away eye glasses, reading glasses, medication among others to the under-privileged individuals in the state.

“Every two months, what we do, is we randomly pick a state in Nigeria. It is a programme we have been doing for 11 years. We also do free reconstruction surgeries like deformities and cataract.

“Unfortunately, when people hear Bayelsa, the first thing they think of is that because the President is from the area. They assumed that everybody is ok. That is a very wrong impression.”

She said their experience over the years had shown that there is a great deal of need in the country, adding that for the good of the society, there was the urgent need for people to begin to reignite that spirit of help. She said the Foundation projected about 1,000 glasses to be given away while 145 bags of rice were estimated for each council area.

Ozoluwa said the Nigerian Customs Service, donated 600 bags of rice to the Foundation. She also appreciated the Dana Group for providing the eye medications, as well as the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Alhaji Shehu Gusua Ibrahim, a House of Representatives member, among others for their assistance to the Foundation.

Chairman of the occasion, Chief Amalate J. Turner, the Obigbo Mikimiki of Opume, Ogbia kingdom in his remarks commended the Foundation for extending the gesture to Ogbia people.

Represented by the state commissioner for Lands and Survey, Surveyor Furoebi Akene, the paramount ruler urged the people to take advantage of the free eye treatment to take care of their eye problems, even as he called on other NGOs to emulate the gesture from the Body Enhancement Foundation.

Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson, represented by the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Ayibatonye Owei, urged residents of the state to avail themselves of the opportunities provided, whild assuring the Foundation of assistance.

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