By Eseoghene Emuke
Paralysed former Nigeria goalkeeper, Coach Peter Fregene, has once again cried out to Nigerians including billionaire businessman and Chairman of Forte Oil Plc, Femi Otedola, seeking to be flown abroad for proper medical attention to enable him live well again.
The ailing ex-international spoke on Sunday exclusively with NIGER DELTA TODAY where he told our correspondent on phone that he had returned to Sapele after Otedola foot his medical bills at the popular Reddington Hospital, Lagos for five months.
He said while he was eternal grateful to Otedola and other Nigerians who have been helpful to his present plight, his health did not record any improvement during his stay in Lagos before being discharged by Otedola’s Personal Assistant, Mr Philip Akinola from the hospital.
The former goal stopper said he was not sure that Mr. Akinola properly briefed his benefactor (Otedola) of his current state of health before being discharged from the hospital.
Fregene who spoke barely for 30 minutes before his wife took up the phone to continue the conversation lamented that he was living in hell and pleaded with Otedola to be flown abroad to enable him continue treatment.
“I am dying. I can’t sleep since my return nor eat. Help me tell Chief Otedola please take me to hospital abroad. My health has worsened. I am back to Sapele and nothing has improved. I am now perpetually paralysed”, Fregene, who represented Nigeria at the 1968 Olympic Games said.
His wife, Mrs Tina Fregene noted that upon their discharge from Reddington Hospital, Otedola’s PA handed them a letter asking them to report at the Delta State University Teaching Hospital (DELSUTH) Oghara, Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State for further treatment.
Giving details of her husband’s health to our reporter, Tina stated, “Chief Otedola took us to Reddington Hospital since June and we came back November 11. There is no significant improvement in my husband’s health. After the operation, they brought someone to do physiotherapy for him for one month before we returned to Sapele. Since them there has been no treatment. The situation is getting worse.
“Before he (Fregene) was discharged, they gave us one paper referring us to continue the treatment at Oghara (DELSUTH). When we got back I called the number of the woman they gave us to call at Oghara and the woman asked us to describe our place for her which I did . when she came, she checked my husband and promised to come two days after but we didn’t hear from her.
“I called her but she claimed Otedola’s team has not called for further directive. Thereafter, I went to Oghara myself to see her and she said they were yet to bargain the fee for the treatment. Since them I have been calling Lagos but they (Otedola’s PA) are not picking my calls.”
She further stated that upon leaving Reddington, there was no financial assistance for them aside their flight tickets that was paid for to enable them cope with the situation, saying that since their return no treatment has been administered on the ailing soccer star.
Fregene’s wife, who broke down in tears during the conversation, appealed to Otedola, the Delta State Government and good spirited Nigerians to help fly her husband abroad for further treatment.
“My husband screams every night because of the pains. He can’t sleep and shout to disturb the neighborhood. My husband was discharged prematurely. He was not stabilized before he was discharged because he cannot stand or raise any part of his body.
“He’s having severe pains on his back. We are very thankful and grateful to Otedola but we are pleading that he should help us to ensure that my husband stabilizes. He should send my husband abroad. I am also appealing to Deltans, Delta state government and Nigerians to help my husband”, she added.
A sports manager and friend of Fregene, Event Eferhobo, confirmed to NIGER DELTA TODAY on Sunday the present plight of the ex-international to our correspondent, adding that Fregene’s health has degenerated.
Eferhobo, while applauding Otedola, appealed to him to personally reach out to the 72-year-old football legend as “it seems Otedola is not getting real report of Coach Fregene even before he was discharged from hospital. He hasn’t gotten any treatment since he return to Sapele.”
A copy of Fregene’s referral letter to DELSUTH by Reddington hospital, which was sighted by this reporter, was signed by Dr Ivy Ogbo, medical officer, for the hospital Medical Consultant, Dr Oladimeji.
“He’s being discharged to continue physiotherapy in DELSUTH”, the letter noted.
The former Nigeria goalkeeper has been living in pitiable condition for close to two decades, having been paralysed since 2001.
The referral letter below: