COVID-19: I Didn’t Test Positive. I Was Allowed to Interact With Visitors – Kogi ‘Index’ Case Reveals

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The purported COVID-19 case in Kogi state has cleared the air surrounding his health condition that pitched the state government against Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) over the agency’s alleged unethical practices.

The alleged COVID-19 index case, Sheik Ahmad Abubakar Ejibunu, who confirmed to Kogi State Government during debriefing, said he did not test positive for Covid-19.

Ejibunu maintained that he suffered from nothing beyond complications from an attack by bees, medical conditions which pre-date the Covid-19 pandemic and stress from travels associated with his work.

Till he was released yesterday, the cleric said he was held in conditions which allowed him to interact with visitors. 

Speaking at a news conference in Lokoja on Monday, the state commissioner for Information and Communication, Kingsley Fanwo said the Chief Imam’s experiences in the hands of the NCDC are far from everything that Nigerians have been told constitute best practices in a Covid-19 situation, especially its pathogenesis and management.

“The respected Chief Imam of Kabba, Sheik Abubakar Ahmad who is in his early 60s along with one of his sons were the purported index cases from Kogi State declared on May 27, 2020 by NCDC. They were whisked to Abuja from Lokoja on the said day and declared Covid-19 positive a few hours later. 

“After 9 days in her custody, the NCDC discharged the Chief Imam on Saturday June 6th, 2020 and upon his return home, he was extensively debriefed by us with a view to ensuring that any lingering public health implications of his case are identified and resolved. 

“The Chief Imam, an upright and outstanding man who is only interested in the truth, confirmed what we have known all along – that he did not test positive for CoviD-19 and received no result of such a diagnosis neither did his doctors at the National Hospital, Abuja where he was confined advise him of it,” he said.

Fanwo queried the the second covid-19 case recorded for the state by NCDC. He wondered why the alleged second case remained on NCDC log when there is none.

The alleged second case recorded for the state was one of Sheik Ejibunu’s sons.

“The son’s case is even more strange as he has a negative test result to confirm that he is Covid-19 free. Ditto all his siblings who were tested in the days following as the NCDC serially sought an off-taker for the second Covid-19 case which they had earlier foisted on Kogi State. 

“Throughout his father’s time in the custody of the NCDC, and in keeping with his Covid-19 negative status, the son remained at liberty and was his father’s primary helper. He was never hospitalised and was allowed to go home each day and return the next. He was allowed to mingle freely with family, visitors, hospital staff and others. Yet, till this day, he remains the second case of Covid-19 allocated to Kogi State on the NCDC’s scoreboard,” Fanwo said.

The commissioner explained that regardless of the state government’s conviction that Kogi is COVID-19 free, it has gone ahead to take preemptive actions in line with the Covid-19 guidelines.

“You all will recall that despite our disagreement with the NCDC’s conduct in the entire circumstances of this case, we moved rapidly and ensured that every member of the Chief Imam’s family as well as his direct contacts were traced and tested within hours of the NCDC announcement on May 27. They all tested negative.

“We also declared a total lockdown of his Local Government Area, Kabba-Bunu, and carried out thorough contact tracing and surveillance activities involving active case search, with SARS-COV2 tests duly conducted and completed. Again, we found nothing to warrant a protracted lockdown which is why His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State lifted it after only 4 days.”

NCDC, on May 27, declared two Covid-19 cases for Kogi State. Last week Wednesday, the agency recorded one more case for the state, taking the total to 3.

Speaking on the alleged third COVID-19 case, Fanwo said “the alleged 3rd Case of Covid-19 credited to Kogi State by the NCDC is shaping up to be another exercise in secrecy and unverifiable processes by the NCDC.

“Nearly one week after she was sneaked onto the NCDC’s list, the Kogi State Government is yet to be armed with the actionable information she needs to take preemptive actions in line with the Covid-19 guidelines.

“We suspect that the NCDC’s lackadaisical attitude may not be unconnected with the knowledge that no infection has been found. Just like in the case of the Chief Imam and his family, let it be known that we are looking out for our citizen and will demand full reckoning should any harm come to her.”

The state government insisted that there is no case of coronavirus in Kogi.

“If ever there is, we will be the first to announce it while deploying all recommended protocols and procedures. Our people can rest assured that we will continue to work extra hard to make sure that this increasingly controversial disease does not come into our state.

“We have been in a state of advanced readiness since the early days of this pandemic. Our isolation centres remain unoccupied, we have thousands of Rapid Test Kits available and we recently acquired a mobile molecular laboratory which will arrive the state any moment now,” Fanwo added.

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