Thug-of-Word: Kogi govt replies NCDC amid COVID-19 tussle

...Says disagreement is between NCDC and NCDC

Arogbonlo Israel

The Kogi State Government has reacted to the claim by the director-general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Chikwe Ihekweazu, that the state rejected the help offered by the agency to ascertain the COVID-19 situation in the state.

Recall Kogi and Cross River are the two states yet to confirm a single case of the disease in the country.

A delegation from the NCDC had earlier visited the state on Thursday night, 7th May 2020. However, the governor, Yahaya Bello asked the team to go on 14-day isolation or leave the state immediately. The team then returned to Abuja.

Speaking at the presidential task force briefing on Friday, the NCDC boss said they can only offer help when it is needed.

“We can only offer help where it is wanted. Yesterday, we offered that help but it wasn’t in a place where the help could be accepted. Unfortunately, that was what happened last night,” Ihekweazu said.

In reaction, the State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Kingsley Fanwo told our reporter on Saturday that the agency failed to adhere to protocol while making reference to the scenario that occurred when NCDC officials last visited the state, adding that they refused to be quarantined for 14 days.

"It was abortive because NCDC wanted us to violate their rules which we were not ready to do. We follow rules.

"The disagreement wasn't between the State Government and the NCDC. We need to make this very clear. It was a disagreement between NCDC and NCDC.

"When some Chinese officials came into the country to give technical support to NCDC, they were quarantined and tested. That is the normal protocol. They were coming from China.

"So when NCDC Officials came, they were supposed to submit themselves for quarantine and tests. They refused to submit themselves for test. So they violated their own rules. They wanted to import COVID-19 to the State by force," Mr Fanwo said.

On testing capacity in the state, the Commissioner said; "We will only test those that exhibit clear symptoms of COVID-19. We wont roll out fake impressions and figures."

He however failed to provide a detailed information on the number of tests that have been conducted in the state since the outbreak of the pandemic in Nigeria. According to him, the NCDC is in the best position to give the figures.

"I don't have the figures because figures are dynamic in managing a pandemic of this magnitude. The NCDC is in the best position to give the figures. They know how many Kogites they have tested," he noted.

Mr Fanwo refused to comment on the relationship between the state government and the NCDC in terms of containing the spread of the pandemic in the state.

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