Nigeria: Exclusive - Osun Commissioner, Oyetola's Aide Test Positive for Covid-19

20 January 2021

All drivers in the governor's convoy, domestic staff, and aides attached to senior government officials have been mandated to take COVID-19 test.

As Nigeria battles with the second wave of COVID-19, two top government officials in Osun State have tested positive for the virus.

The development has forced the state governor, Gboyega Oyetola, to mandate COVID-19 test for all his cabinet members.

Although the state's commissioner for information, Funke Egbemode, confirmed that two cabinet members have been confirmed positive, she did not disclose their identities.

However, sources within the cabinet confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that those infected with the virus are a commissioner and a special adviser to the governor.

While the commissioner tested positive 13 days ago, the special adviser was confirmed positive 10 days ago.

When contacted, the affected commissioner did not deny being positive to our correspondent. He said he wanted his health confidentiality protected.

He also said "it is not a crime to be tested positive. COVID-19 is like malaria and anybody can be tested positive."

The special adviser, who also tested positive, could not be reached as of the time of filing this report as his telephone was not connecting. He is yet to respond to enquiries sent to him by our correspondent.

Also, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Ismail Omipidan, told this newspaper that he "honestly did not know the two officials involved."

PREMIUM TIMES, however, learnt the state government had begun tracing of some contacts since the day the duo were confirmed positive.

Compulsory test

The status of the commissioner and the special adviser has forced Mr Oyetola to mandate all his cabinet members to take compulsory COVID-19 test to ascertain their status.

PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the test has also been made compulsory for all drivers in the governor's convoy, domestic staff, and aides attached to senior government officials.

Mrs Egbemode said Mr Oyetola's aim was to lead by example by making the test compulsory as she confirmed that two persons' result truly came back positive.

"The results have returned and only two people returned positive. They have since gone into isolation and commenced treatment. We can confirm that they are stable, and a repeat test will be conducted in a few days to check their progress."

"Citizens are hereby advised to take personal responsibility for their safety and the safety of others, and this now includes taking the Covid-19 test so as to commence immediate treatment if the result returned positive", Mrs Egbemode said.

Fear

Some cabinet members, who preferred not to disclose their names because they have not been authorised to speak with the media, told PREMIUM TIMES that the governor and other officials at the government secretariat are afraid of moving around for fear of interacting with possible carriers of the virus.

In fact, a special assistant to the governor told our correspondent that cabinet members without COVID-19 test result are not allowed to see the governor.

"I was to meet the governor last week but I was not permitted until I tendered my COVID-19 test which shows that I am negative before I was allowed to meet him."

A commissioner also told PREMIUM TIMES that the cases of the two cabinet members made people to be more conscious.

"People have been more conscious including with the governor. In fact, your COVID-19 test result is the pass to see the governor now", he said.

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