Rose Ejembi (Makurdi), Chijioke Agwu (Abakaliki) and Okey Sampson, Umuahia
Ebonyi State governor, David Umahi, has tested positive for Coronavirus. Umahi confirmed his positive status yesterday in a statement in Abakaliki.
In the light of the development, the governor has handed over governance of the state to his deputy, Dr. Kelechi Igwe, even as he has gone into isolation with his aides who also tested positive for the virus. It was gathered that the governor has not yet started showing symptoms.
Umahi urged the people of the state to take the fight against the pandemic very seriously by adhering to all the precautionary measures put in place by government, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the World Health Organisation, to checkmate the deadly virus.
In a related development, the First Lady of Benue State, Mrs. Eunice Ortom, her son and some of her staff have similarly tested positive for COVID-19.
Mrs. Ortom, disclosed this in a statement she personally signed and made available to the public around 11:30pm on Friday.
“Few moments ago this evening, I received the result from the tests earlier carried out on me by personnel of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, who were on routine screening at Government House, Makurdi, which returned that I, my son, and some staff are COVID-19 positive.
“We have from this moment, gone into total isolation as required by the protocols and would immediately begin the treatment as advised by medical experts.
“While I have taken the responsibility to personally call every one I can recall to have had recent contact with to go for testing, and I advise any one who has had close contact with me in the last two weeks and the public to go for screening and testing.
“I wish to reiterate that being COVID-19 positive is not a death sentence as evident by the many recoveries recorded thus far; so there is no need to panic, but we should continue to be responsible in our actions so as to keep others safe.”
Just like the Benue First Lady, a number of top officials of the state government have also tested positive for COVID-19. Equally caught in the net of the dreaded disease are cooks and housemaids of at Governor’s lodge.
Governor Samuel Ortom who announced this yesterday while addressing newsmen in Makurdi listed the affected top government officials to include Secretary to the Benue State Government (SSG), Prof. Anthony Ijohor; Chief of Staff, Terwase Orbunde; Head of Service, Mrs. Veronica Onyeke as well as the Vice Chairman of the State Action Committee on COVID-19, Prof. Achinge among others.
Lamenting that people were no longer adhering to all the preventive measures since the easing of the lockdown in the state, Ortom hinted that the State Action Committee on COVID-19 would meet next week to review the lockdown.
“What I see in churches, mosques, weddings and other social gatherings since easing of lockdown is very disheartening. The issue of maintaining social distancing is very important. It is better to preserve lives. The COVID-19 committee will seat early next week to take drastic decisions and review as it affects opening of religious places, markets and schools,” Ortom said.
Recall that the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Terver Akase, had last Tuesday confirmed that his principal, Governor Samuel Ortom had taken a second COVID-19 test and that the result was being awaited as of the time of filing this report.
Meanwhile, Abia State governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu is reported to have recovered from Coronavirus and would soon resume duties.
Ikpeazu was flown to Abuja penultimate week for treatment after the result of his COVID-19 test returned positive.
On Friday, a picture of Ikpeazu playing table tennis with one of his doctors went viral, an indication he had recovered.
In a press release yesterday, the Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi-Kalu, said the follow-up test conducted by NCDC on post-treatment samples submitted by Ikpeazu on Thursday, returned negative.
“Governor Ikpeazu is therefore deemed free of the virus according to the extant guidelines of NCDC and the World Health Organization (WHO)”, Okiyi-Kalu stated.