Paul Orude, Bauchi
Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed has raised the alarm concerning Lassa Fever and Yellow Fever deaths in the state, disclosing that the diseases have claimed 150 persons so far in the latest outbreaks.
Mohammed, who said that Lassa Fever was deadlier than the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), lamented the absence of a testing centre for infectious diseases in the state, fearing this was contributing to the rising death toll.
The governor disclosed this when members of the Correspondents’ Chapel in the state visited him at Government House, Bauchi to congratulate him on being discharged after testing negative for coronavirus.
“We will not just sit down and refuse to test. That is why l feel bad that we don’t have a testing laboratory in Bauchi when we are the epicentre in northern Nigeria even before Kano. But the Federal Government has its own wisdom,” he said
“The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control that l was the first governor to visit their headquarters were so happy, promised to establish a robust centre in Bauchi. I have been saying that Lassa Fever and Yellow Fever are more deadly than coronavirus. We did not lose one person to COVID-19. Because of their contagious efficacy, we could not stop.it”
The governor said he had to charge the committee he set up to fight Lassa Fever with N25 million to make sure they go to the epicentres of the disease in the state – Toro and Alkaleri.
“People are mystifying this disease, that it is the work of witches but people are dying. The committee led by the Deputy Governor is going round to create awareness and sensitisation.”
The governor said that his administration would continue to draw the attention of both the Federal Government and the International Community on the danger of Lassa Fever to make the state secure.
On the COVID-19 situation in the state, the governor explained that he refused to order a total lockdown, but has opted for contact tracing and social distancing due to the level of poverty in the state.
“When l was in isolation, l felt we should go aggressively for contact tracing which we did to a large extent, up to 99 per cent. We decided to allow people to embark on a living while imbibing the culture of social distancing and sanitisation,” he said.
“But when l went to the mosques to see how they were doing it, l was worried. I went to the market, l was also worried because the social distancing is not being exercised. Can we exercise t?
“What do we do? With 8 million people, 95 per cent are below the average standard of living. Poverty is a recurrent decimal. Even the one per cent that we said we would deduct from workers salaries, they said they don’t want it. I said they should take back their money, it’s their right. So, with this kind of situation, how so do you lock up?”