By Bello Imam
In spite of Kogi State’s continued denial of the reality of COVID-19 in the state, the deaths of Kogi State Chief Judge, Nasir Ajanah, and the President of the Customary Court of Appeal, Ibrahim Atadoga, in quick succession have taken off the myth that the state is devoid of the virus.
The deaths have actually likewise triggered mass apprehension over the state’s inexistence COVID-19 action and positioned the state on the cusp of an imminent disaster. Justice Atadoga likewise died from issues developing from COVID-19, even though there were efforts to hide the cause of his death in deference to the state’s main rejection policy.
Justice Ajanah’s death, which officials grudgingly conceded was associated with COVID-19, has lastly exposed Kogi’s intricate attempt to minimize or entirely reject the impact of the illness on the state. Justice Atadoga passed away hardly 24 hours after he was hospitalised at a personal health facility. There is no testing centre in Kogi State, and even the seclusion centres are a shadow of what they ought to be.
Sources near to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Lokoja, the most equipped tertiary health center in the city, disclosed to The Nation that numerous cases suspected to be connected to COVID-19 in the state were very first described that health institution, before being moved to Abuja. The state government, through the Commissioner for Health, consistently usurps the functions of the FMC by interfering with the COVID-19 procedures for stating clients COVID-19 related. Until recently, the state had not formally confessed the presence of any COVID-19 client, other than its shambolic reference to the Kabba occurrence, which caused a short overall lockdown in that part of the state.
The sources likewise disclosed that medical professionals at the FMC operate under a cloud of intimidation masterminded by the state federal government, leading to their unwillingness to declare any patient COVID-19 associated. Even the Chief Medical Director of the FMC is said not to take pleasure in the liberty of work, having actually gone through substantial intimidation for referring COVID-19 cases to Abuja. Rather of referring cases to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) COVID-19 seclusion centre in Abuja, which the state government resent, patients were frequently delegated their fates.
The tragedy unfolding in Kogi, a leading source revealed, is so alarming that contracting COVID-19 has actually become uncharacteristically a death sentence. There are no appropriate seclusion centres, so a diagnostic center developed by former governor, Idris Wada, which can hardly isolate four people and has no electricity or water supply, is the replacement the government picked.
The sources describe that one other reason the government appears averse to welcoming the truth of COVID-19 in the state may not be unrelated to the expenses connected to contact tracing. Currently the state federal government is paying just 80%of personnel salaries. Sources reveal that the government would be in a predicament if it accepts obligation for taking on the spread of COVID-19, as it would be unable to pay incomes.
The consequence is that residents in the state are unaware of the risk COVID-10 positions to them, nor are facemasks utilized. The state has no authorities record of COVID-19 infection and death regardless of the quick community spread of the illness. Medical sources within the state associate the deaths of both judges to the state’s absence of COVID-19 response facilities.
In early May, the state had a public falling out with the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) rapid response group on COVID 19 led by Physician Andrew Noah, which it accused of attempting to coerce the state into confessing the presence of the disease in the state. They were in Kogi State to assist the state with the needed infrastructure for handling COVID-19 cases.
According to sources, Justice Atadoga, for instance, was initially dealt with for severe malaria, but barely hours later on, his case got worse before he was moved to a medical center. Though medical professionals identified COVID-19, the state would not officially confess. He died hours after admission. Due to the fact that the state has not confessed the existence of the illness, and the guv decreased to use a mask till Justice Ajanah died, there has been no effort to do contact tracing and seclusion, not to talk of treatment in the state. Medical professionals insist that there is currently a neighborhood spread in the state, but there are no centers on the ground to handle what is threatening to be an explosion.
Health care workers in the state, though unable to publicly challenge the state government, have appealed to the federal government to urgently overthrow Governor Yahaya Bello, whom they accuse of living in rejection. They require the establishment of screening and seclusion centres in order to ward off an unfolding tragedy. They insist that scores of COVID-19 associated deaths in the state are tape-recorded as deaths from malaria and other pre-existing conditions, thereby exposing the state to untold sufferings and risks.