Arogbonlo Israel

Kogi popularly called the 'Confluence State' was created in 1991 from parts of Kwara and Benue respectively. The State consists of twenty-one (21) local government areas. Which are: Adavi, Ajaokuta, Ankpa, Dekina, Ibaji, Idah, Ijumu, Kabba/Bunu, Koton Karfe, Lokoja, Okene, Olamaboro, Omala, Yagba East, Yagba West, among others.

In recent times, the state has been faced with series of controversies surrounding its COVID-19 status of which the Governor, Yahaya Bello claimed there has not been any record of the pandemic since the outbreak in Nigeria (February 27 2020).

The Director-General of the NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, in his earlier response to the Kogi claim, said, "The number of tests carried out makes it difficult to know if the state is free." A few days ago, the NCDC said Kogi had done only one test, while Cross River has tested seven cases. But the State Commissioner for Information, Kingsley Fanwo, claimed that 5,000 test kits were procured and the 111 samples with which it conducted rapid tests were negative. Looking at this logically, one may say this is not enough as against the testing capacities in other states with record of the virus. It is glaring care that, by not allowing the NCDC to validate the measures the state has put in place, as it did for Lagos and other states, it will be an herculean task for the governor to justify his stance.

Penultimately, Kogi shares boundaries with ten states: Benue, Enugu, Kwara, Anambra, Ondo, Ekiti, Niger, Delta and Nasarawa, Edo, as well as the Federal Capital Territory, all of which have proven COVID-19 cases. Besides, it is a major transit centre of transport services between the northern and southern parts of the country. Also, its boundaries have been widely opened to influx of travellers with little or no measures in place to checkmate the passengers entering the state as well as adhering to the inter-state boundary closure put in place to contain the pandemic.

Recall the disease rapidly spread through interstate travels, a reality that informed the Nigeria Governors Forum’s decision to initiate the interstate lockdown protocol, which the Federal Government assented to. With this among many other reasons, it is believed the state is at greater risk of community transmission. More so, a large significant number of people are of the opinion that, there ought to have been reports of high rate of deaths on the streets just as it is with Kano if truly there is existence of the pandemic in the state. While some are of contrary views because, they think the government might be hiding the real state of the pandemic in the state. You choose!

As a sheep in the midst of wolves, it is pertinent to note that, Kogi needs to be more realistic in its approach to the fight against the ravaging pandemic that has no respect for status, gender or virtue of one's proven track record in health matters. It is more than engaging in mind games or political gimmicks, which is detrimental to the safety of the people at large. Thus, this is a call to action by the State Government and other relevant authorities to put all differences aside, and look inward to how they can synergise on the way forward as regards the COVID-19 status of the state.

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even though we at Kogi love the fact that business is going as normal, except schooling. it saddens me to say that we are sitting on a keg of gun powder...... i just pray it doesn't roast our nyansh sooner than later


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