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Kogi’s Refusal to Test for COVID-19 Is Raising Concern, Says NMA

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The doctors’ association in Kogi State has expressed concern over the refusal of Kogi State to test suspected cases of coronavirus.

As of Tuesday night, Nigeria has tested 19,512 people with 2,948 confirmed cases and 98 deaths across the country.

Kogi is one of the two states yet to confirm any case of the virus since the country recorded its index case in February. The other state is Cross River.

In Kogi, the state government is deliberately discouraging COVID-19 tests and has alleged that there is a plot by unnamed persons to ensure Kogi records cases of the virus

This attitude of the Kogi government has irked the doctors’ association in Kogi who warn it could be dangerous.

The Chairman, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Kogi chapter, Kabir Zubair, told PREMIUM TIMES that the consequences of not testing people for the COVID-19 may be too enormous to deal with.

“If the state is not testing anybody despite having many suspected cases, it only translates that there may be more cases to deal with later and we don’t know where they are now.

“Community transmission will be inevitable. And this could only spell impending doom,” he said.

Similarly, last month, the Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Chikwe Ihekweazu, expressed dissatisfaction over the number of samples brought in for testing from states that were yet to record COVID-19 cases.

Naming Kogi alongside other three states (Nasarawa, Yobe and Cross River), the official said there was a lot of capacity to test, but there were not enough samples.

Mr Ihekweazu accused the states of possible negligence or attempts at hiding any record of the disease in the states.

Yobe and Nasarawa have since recorded cases of the virus.

“We have looked at the number of samples collected from these states and we are not satisfied. So, we need to test more. But to test more, we need to collect more and the collection part is the responsibility of the states and their public health teams.

“You can’t hide this. Eventually, it will emerge. There is absolutely no doubt that there are people that have pneumonia, acute respiratory infections in your states,” Mr Ihekweazu said.

In what appeared a reaction to Mr Ihekweazu’s statement, the Kogi State Government alleged there were “recent pressures from some interesting quarters for Kogi State to find and declare cases of the disease.”

In a Tuesday statement by its commissioner for information, Kingsley Fanwo, the state alleged plans to ‘import’ cases of coronavirus into the state through illicit means.

The Kogi government said it would not manufacture cases to satisfy the expectations of unnamed health officials, amidst allegations, including by a journalist, that the state has recorded deaths from the virus at a Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in the state.

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Akwa Ibom PDP Chairman, Udo Ekpenyong, Dies

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The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom State, Udo Ekpenyong, is dead.

Mr Ekpenyong died on Monday in Uyo, an official of the Akwa Ibom government who did not want his name mentioned, told PREMIUM TIMES, Tuesday morning.

The official said the chairman died of COVID-19.

Late Mr Ekpenyong, before his election as the state PDP chairman last year was the commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in the state. He was known to be a strong ally of Governor Udom Emmanuel.

Akwa Ibom State lost two other prominent figures recently, a former Chief of Air Staff, Nsikak Edouk who died of renal failure, and a former military governor of the state, Idongesit Nkanga who died of COVID-19.

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Lagos Police Hail Igboelerin Youths for Resisting Robbery Attack

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The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, has commended youths of Igboelerin community for their bravery in resisting an arms robbery attack and recovering dangerous weapons in the bargain.

According to a statement signed by the command’s PPRO, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, the criminals invaded the community at about 11:30pm on Sunday, but were dislodged by the daring youths.

“On 17th January 2021, at about 11.30pm, the youths of Igboelerin community in Lagos State resisted a robbery attack on the community when they dislodged some suspected armed robbers that wanted to rob the community.

“The suspected armed robbers came on 2 unregistered bikes with the intention of attacking their targets before they were repelled by the youths who have been involved in the community policing strategies of the command. One unregistered operational bike and one locally made pistol with a life cartridge were recovered from them.

“The Commissioner of Police Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu, while commending the youths of the area, has ordered for the manhunt and arrest of the fleeing armed robbers. He encouraged Lagosians to embrace the idea of community-based policing which has paid off in many areas of the state,” the statement read.

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Policeman Prostrates, Begs After Threatening Panel Member in Ogun

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There was disquiet at the Ogun State Judicial Panel of Investigation Against Police Brutality when a policeman, Sergeant Adeleke Olalekan, allegedly threatened members of the panel.

The panel, which sat at the Magistrate Court 1, Isabo, Abeokuta, on Monday, was cross-examining the Officer in-Charge of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad, CSP Gbenga Megbope.

Olalekan had accompanied his boss, Megbope, who was a respondent in a case of brutality against some people in the state.

Olalekan was, however, allegedly caught pointing at the panel members in a manner suggestive of threats.

The Chairman of the panel, Justice Solomon Olugbemi, called him out and booked him for punishment as stipulated under the commission of inquiry law.

While reading out the law against the policeman’s action, the chairman said, “Any act of disrespect, insult or threat to the commissioners or any panel members while sitting in commission or any act of disrespect, insult or threat to a commissioner or panel members at any other time or place on account of his proceedings in his capacity as a commissioner or panel member shall be deemed to be an act of contempt within the meaning of this law under Section 16 of the same law.”

Olugbemi noted that the sergeant ought to be recommended for trial at a magistrate’s court.

But Olalekan, while being questioned, prostrated and pleaded for forgiveness.

The panel pardoned him, while the chairman warned against disrespect for the panel.

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