From Sa’adatu MAINA, Damaturu
Honourable Mai Mala Buni, the Yobe State Governor, in an apparent reply to the ‘tongue in cheek’ statement by Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Director-General (DG) of the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC), that the governors of Cross River, Kogi, Nasarawa and Yobe, cannot hide the Covid-19 disease, has said that his state was the first state in the country to send a sample for test.
It will be recalled that on March 13 this year, the Yobe State Commissioner for Health, Dr Muhammad Lawan Gana had to allay fears over a suspected case when a consultant visiting the state from the United States, one Dr Umar, showed signs of infection. He was immediately isolated until his sample which was brought to Abuja was found to be negative.
Cross River, Kogi, Nasarawa and Yobe states are the only states in the federation as at yesterday with no reported case(s) of covid-19. Unfortunately, Nasarawa has fallen out of this enviable group as the state has a confirmed case today.
Dr Chikwe has said, “the governors cannot hide the disease” and that “eventually it will appear”, thereby “advising” them “to understand what is happening early than leave it till we start hearing stories of death”.
She further reiterated, “We are looking at the number of samples collected from these states. We are not satisfied with the number of samples collected.
“We need to test more, but to test more, we need to collect more and that collection part is the responsibility of states and their Public Health teams.
“We want to really encourage every state in Nigeria, you cannot hide this. Eventually, it will emerge. It is better we understand what is happening early than leave it till we start hearing stories of death. So, we are really encouraging the Public Health Teams in these states to push out their people that have Pneumonia, acute respiratory infections and others. There is absolutely no doubt about this. Please, collect samples and send them to us, let us test and know whether you have this thing circulating in your states and mount an appropriate response. If it is not there, it is not there, but we cannot know if we do not test”, he added
However, Governor Buni said that even though he is aware that “this thing can happen anywhere and to anybody”, but knows that “even in China, where the virus originated, not all provinces were affected” and assured of his government’s determination to do its best to protect the people living within the state from the disease.
The governor meanwhile has up a Covid-19 response team under the Chairmanship of his deputy, Alhaji Idi barde Gubana, which is monitoring the state and the government has also set up isolation centers, procured ventilators and relevant drugs while massive awareness on personal hygiene, social distancing, wearing of masks and frequent washing of hands is ongoing all over the state.