Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja
In spite of the grandstanding of the Kogi State government that the state has no record of the dreaded Coronavirus case, a family in the state has put a lie to the government claim.
Investigations revealed that the Chief Imam of Kabba, Sheikh Ahmad Abubukar Ejibunu, may have unknowingly contracted the disease in the state and is indeed one of the two index cases referred to the National Hospital, Abuja from the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja.
A source at the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja who pleaded anonymity told our correspondent that the pandemic has been ravaging the state since the past weeks, “but some certain elements at the corridor of power in Kogi Government House are hell-bent to silence this fact and regrettably, there is no testing kits and necessary tools in the state.”
According to him, the Medical Centre has suspected no fewer than 17 cases in the last two weeks in the state, and had promptly reported the matter to the concerned authorities in the state, “but order from above will say ‘discharge them and let them go.’ “
While saying that the management of the Medical Centre has no right to announce any of such cases, the source who is a medical doctor said that the procedure was to first inform the state Epidemiologist who in turn was expected to brief the state COVID-19 committee headed by the deputy governor.
Confirming the index case in a statement signed by Chief Tai Ejibunu, the Obatebise of Oweland on behalf of the Ejibunu family, said:
“I wish to affirm on behalf of Ejibunu family that the Chief Imam of Kabba, Sheikh Ahmad Abubakar Ejibunu was down with flu some few days back and he had to be hospitalised at the Specialist Hospital in Kabba. Further medical attention was sought at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Lokoja as the flu did not abate after some days.
“At the FMC, he was referred to the National Hospital in Abuja and the text conducted on him by the NCDC showed that he was COVID-19 positive.
The text conducted on one of his sons who had been with him since came out negative.
“The family would have come out to speak on the matter, but we were not comfortable with the ding dong game going on between the NCDC and the Kogi State government.
“The family is concerned about the wellbeing of other Owes and we wish to confirm that COVID-19 has found its way sadly to our community and the state.
“Therefore, no need for Kogi State government to deny the obvious. We would like to stress that the Chief Imam, of recent, had never ventured outside Kogi State by way of travelling outside the state. So, the ‘virus’ could have been contracted within.
“We wish to advise our people to please abide by the protocols emplaced by the NCDC and play safe. The family is cooperating with the Kogi State government and the NCDC to stem the spread.
“This evening (Friday) contact tracing and testing of family members of the Chief Imam had begun. What we need from our people is empathy and no need for the acrimonious exchange of views and counter views
“May God save Oweland (Kabba) and her people in particular and the state in general.”
But in a swift reaction, the state government still denied that the victim actually was infected with the virus, stressing that the manner the victim was rushed to the Abuja National Hospital was highly suspicious.
In a statement signed by the state Commissioner of Health, Dr Saka Haruna, it wondered how the FMC Lokoja bypassed the state committee of COVID-19 headed by the state deputy governor and took the victim to Abuja on his request, insisting there was a foul play.