Lokoja — Amid controversy over the announcement of two index cases of COVID-19 in Kogi State, the state government has ordered the lockdown of the local government area where the victims hail from.
Governor Yahaya Bello, who directed the total lockdown of the area in a press briefing on Monday in Lokoja, said the measure will commence from midnight on Tuesday.
Daily Trust reports that the two index cases are a male community leader and his son from Kabba/Bunu local government area.
The governor reiterated that although the state is still; "COVID-19 free" and that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control "dubiously allocated index cases" there was a need to take precautionary measures because of the "obvious move to spread the virus" in the state.
According to him, the state's response team had conducted contact tracing of the family members of the affected persons, adding that 13 people that were tested returned negative.
He noted that the lockdown would enable the state government to carry out house-to-house tests of all residents and forestall infiltration of the area by "agents of those who are keen on escalating" the disease in the state.
Bello stated that the state government is making arrangement to provide palliative to the residents of the area during the period, while security agents will be deployed to enforce the lockdown.
He called on the Federal Medical Centre management to urgently isolate its personnel, including doctors who came into contact with the "supposed index cases," since they insisted the victims are positive.
Bello said the politicisation of the Kogi issue further reinforced his earlier position and suspicion that economic and political interests are the underlying variables behind "the fictitious cases" announced daily by the NCDC.
He insisted that the "supposed index cases" were part of such politics, adding that the manner in which the community leader who was "stug by bees" was hurriedly moved to Abuja without the knowledge of the state government was suspicious.
"Equally suspicious was the declaration by the NCDC that the community leader and his son tested positive.
"Even the son, who was said to have tested positive, is walking around running errands for his father instead of being in insolation as the NCDC guidelines stipulated," he observed.
He urged the people of the state not to panic, while continuing to observe all precautionary measures against the pandemic.
Kogi, NCDC unending bickering
Kogi State Government and the NCDC have constantly been at loggerheads over the status of the state, with the state insisting it is COVID-19 free and the NCDC saying the status was as a result of non-testing.
The issue got to a boiling point on May 27 when the NCDC announced that Kogi State had recorded two cases of COVID-19.
The state immediately rejected the announcement with its Commissioner for Information, Kingsley Fanwo, describing the NCDC reporting process as fraudulent.
As of Sunday, May 31, when the NCDC last gave an update on COVID-19 spread in Nigeria, Cross River state remains the only state without any confirmed COVID-19 case as the nation's total infection surpasses 10,000.