Akwa Ibom State government has once again been forced to deny the existence of the dreaded Coronavirus disease as a reaction to persistent rumours that two persons have so far tested positive.
The state, officially, has so far not recorded any confirmed case of the disease, but there are unconfirmed allegations making the rounds that the disease had since hit the state.
An online publication on Monday raised the alarm that two persons earlier suspected to have contracted the sickness and whose samples were sent out for analysis had finally tested positive.
A source in the be Ministry of Health who pleaded anonymity said he would not confirm or deny the rumour, “since it is a delicate issue. “My only worry is the politicization of issues surrounding Coronavirus in the state and the state government giving out contradictory information to members of the public.
“Government through information commissioner, Charles Udoh had in an earlier radio interview vehemently opposed to call for ventilators, claiming that the state had no need for such as there was no case at that time”.
The “same commissioner later took some members of hjs media team to take pictures of ventilators in other medical facilities. This to me is a clear case of contradiction and lack of preparation against the disease.”
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Dominic Ukpong had just a week ago, in reaction to complaints about the state of the Infectious Disease Hospital in Ikot Ekpene, claimed that the state government was afraid of theft and could therefore not equip the facility to a level it could take any outbreak.
As a proof of tardy preparation, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and other healthcare professionals had, before their meeting with Governor Udom Emmanuel on Sunday night expressed dissatisfaction with the state of the IDH and appealed to the state government to carry medical workers along in its efforts to prepare the state to combat the pandemic.
They had even staged a walk-out at a meeting called by the health commissioner citing discrimination, high-handedness and divide-and-rule tactics of the commissioner as their grouses.
The leadership of the Nigeria Union on Journalists (NUJ), after an on-the-spot assessment of the controversial IDH in Ikot Ekpene ended up on a very combative session with the Commissioner for Health whom they confronted with their findings..
Our source who therefore expressed strong fears over the state’s ability to combat the disease in the event of any outbreak, attributed his position on the attitude of those standing on behalf of the government..
But Commissioner for Information, Charles Udoh said: “That’s not true. The two cases earlier suspected tested negative.”
His health counterpart, Dr Dominic Ukpong question the source of the report. “Who told you that? I should have been the one to say so, but I have not! That is not true, he said.