Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello has lifted the total lockdown imposed on Kabba/Bunu communities over alleged COVID-19 index cases in those communities. The governor’s decision came barely three days into the contact tracing and testing of people in the communities.
Bello said the lockdown in those communities have been achieved but insisted that the state remained COVID-19 free, even though the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had announced another case on Thursday.
The governor said all the samples collected would be forward to the NCDC for further confirmation, saying the state would be transparent in the handling of the pandemic in the state, just as it has done with other similar infectious diseases, like Lassa Fever and Yellow Fever.
He, however, charged the NCDC not to politicise the issue of health, saying Kogi would continue to pay serious attention to the health needs of the people of the state.
He said the NCDC must continue to respect its own protocol and guidelines, noting that politicising the issue would negate the seriousness attached to it by both the federal and state governments.
The Obaro of Kabba, Oba Solomon Owoniyi, had on Thursday appealled to the state government to relax the lockdown, saying within 24 hours, farmers in the area had lost their farm produce to the activities of herdsmen.
The governor had on June 1, imposed a two-week total lockdown on the council and directed the management of the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Lokoja to isolate doctors and any health officials that participated in moving the suspected case and his son to Abuja, after it was alleged that the Kabba Chief Imam, Sheikh Ahmad Abubakar Ejibunu, and one of his sons were taken to Abuja by NCDC for test.
The governor pointed out that even though the state does not believe in the allocated figures, he had to lockdown the council so that COVID-19 committee could conduct checks and obtain samples of the people for further examination.
Meanwhile, Bello has warned those wanting to divide the state along ethnic lines, saying his administration has the capacity to deal with such persons, no matter how highly placed in society.
The governor’s warning followed a recent judgment of the Federal High Court, Lokoja, which declared Ajaokuta, Lokoja and Koton Karfe as part the Igala Kingdom.
Bello, at a press conference yesterday, said the government would come hard on those trying to factionalise the state, as his administration is anchored on unity.
The governor called on those affected to seek legal means of redress, stressing that the government would be hard on those using history rightly or wrongly to create confusion.
While stressing that the state would not fold its hands and allow imperialism in this age of civilisation, but would be ruthless on persons found culpable, no matter how highly placed.
Meanwhile, the member representing Ajaokuta Federal Constituency, Lawal Muhammadu Idirisu, has called for calm over the judgment, saying: “We have been leaving happily together as one, irrespective of tribal differences, and also embarked on inter-tribal marriages, so we should not allow such judgment to divide us, as it is a civil and institutional matter.