● First and foremost, It is imperative that the public realise that there is no State Government that can deliberately put her people in harms way for whatever political reason, and the current administration has been scored high by local and international observers on Health. We have and will continue to put the health of our people as first priority.
● We are not new to Public Health Emergencies even if the Covid-19 pandemic is unarguably the most trying the world has ever witnessed. We have been in an annual fight against Lassa fever as the State is located in the Lassa fever belt, recording several cases with regrettable loses. We were first to establish a Biosafety Laboratory For Lassa fever in Nigeria and this year alone we have confirmed 30 cases of Lassa Fever that was duly announced. To accuse the state of a cover up of Covid-19 cases is mischievous and at best politically inclined.
● Is it not curious that I am the State Commissioner for Health, a member of the Governing board of FMC Lokoja, and also the incident manager for Covid-19 in the State, yet I have never been informed of the claimed cases in the report. There is also a representative of FMC Lokoja in the State’s Squadron against Covid-19 / Lassa fever and never for once was any such case raised in our meetings.
Since the beginning of this pandemic we have held series of meetings with FMC Lokoja, and in this week alone we have had about 4 of such meetings. Such claims were never raised by the management of FMC. One then wonders the source and intent of the mischievous report. We are more inclined to believe that such fictitious claims being bandied about on the media are just meant to pressure the State into playing to the gallery of a narrative that ensures all States of Nigeria have Covid-19!
● We reiterate our earlier resolve not to be pressured to announce a case of Covid-19 where we have none, irrespective of Media propaganda from any quarters.
● We also remain resolute that getting a Covid-19 test result will not be a criterion for Kogites to access quality health care. We have learnt from previous experience in the management of Lassa fever that delay in giving appropriate Health care service under the guise of ‘waiting for test result’ can lead to fatal consequences! Hesitation by Health workers to give adequate Health care service resulted in the State having 40-50% Case Fatality Rate (CFR) in the management of Lassa fever, whereas cases managed at the State’s Specialist Hospital Lokoja received 100% recovery, hence our insistence that since it takes between 7 -10 days for suspected patients to get their Covid-19 test result, every patient must continue to receive adequate and health care services, while Health Care workers take all protective measures and patients that meet testing criteria will be tested.
●We remain committed to the WHO, Federal Ministry of Health and NCDC guidelines of who qualifies to be tested, and as at this moment, no case has been officially reported to the Kogi State, and media propaganda or devious intents from certain quarters will not push us to announce that we have a confirmed case in Kogi State.
●The lame notion that all the States surrounding Kogi State already have Covid-19 will not cause us to bat an eye lid, but rather increase us in conviction that if some other States gave in to pressure, we wouldn’t . We will continue to take samples from appropriate patients and members of the public in line with the laid down principles.
●Our Isolation centers are open for inspection from appropriate quarters and the insinuation by the said report needs not be given any attention.
● Kogi state had activated a rapid response team since 2017 long before any epidemic was suspected to occur. Our success in investigating and curtailing alleged strange deaths in Okoloke Yagba west L.G.A in kogi state in 2017 was well commended and applauded by National and international stakehokders. The so called strange disease which was later confirmed to be Yellow Fever was appropriately annihilated with collaboration from our ever dependable Health Development Partners.
●So much fake news has been peddled about Kogi State and we are no strangers to it. Recently it was said that 7 billion naira was expended in setting up a Marquee isolation center, an amount that is greater than the State’s monthly allocation, how ridiculous!
●KOGI STATE WILL NOT GIVE IN TO PRESSURE TO ANNOUNCE FICTITIOUS CASE OF COVID-19. We will only announce a real case of confirmed Covid-19 where it exists, and we advise our people to follow strictly the State Governments guidelines in the prevention of the disease, for as it stands, KOGI STATE IS OFFICIALLY COVID-19 FREE!
Dr Saka Haruna Audu
Honourable Commissioner for Health