Benue records first case of Coronavirus

By Aloysius Umalo, Makurdi

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom

Benue State in North Central Nigeria has recorded its first case of Coronavirus.

The case involves a lady who recently returned to the state from the UK.

More suspected cases including those who came in contact with the patient as well as others who have been in touch with other 8 returnees from the UK are currently under investigation.

The State Governor, Samuel Ortom who announced the outbreak of the virus, gave the name of the patient as Susan Okpe, a Benue indigense staying in the UK.

Governor Ortom said ”the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, has confirmed and updated the Benue case of COVID-19 tally on the list of infected states in the country.”

Benue State has also become the first state in North Central Nigeria to record a confirmed case with its index patient after Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Governor Ortom warned citizens not to stigmatise any patients carrying the virus.

“No one should stigmatise anybody because of the disease and people who came in contact with Susan Okpe in the last 14 days should go into self isolation or call the Action Committee on COVID 19 on any of our dedicated lines for help,” the Governor stated.

He also directed that apart from medicine stores, all markets in the state would be closed down on Monday following the outbreak.

The governor said shop owners should operate from their homes and other business centers with sanitisers made available for customers.

More measures
According to him, mores drastic and proactive steps would be taken by government to further curtail the spread of the virus.

On border closure, Governor Ortom explained that adequate measures would be put in place before the six entry points into the state would be shutdown including the border between the state and Cameroon.

He maintained that the state was not in haste to close down it’s borders in order not to impose more hardship on the people.

Governor Ortom however urged indigens of the state to stay at home and restrict their movement both within and outside the state.

“All Benue indigens staying in other states and abroad should remain there. We don’t need them at home now. We will be praying for them,” he stressed.

The Benue governor also announced that a dedicated account has been opened to raise funds for the treatment of the pandemic with the United Bank for Africa, UBA and appealed to individuals and corporate organisations to support the course.

In the meantime, the six Ambulance vehicles earlier donated to some Local Governments in the state through the MDGs programme have been withdrawn to assist in conveying patients and suspected cases for treatment.

Governor Ortom is due to address the people of the State on Monday during which details of how to control movement and the recommended method of transportation would be rolled out.


Mercy Chukwudiebere