COVID-19 exposure: Many govs refuse to self-isolate

  • El-Rufai chairs meetings, inspects markets

  • Inuwa meets traditional rulers

  • Emmanuel holds ‘lunch fellowship’

  • Zulum tests negative, still going for inspections

  • Sule, Yahaya, Sani, Obaseki, others in isolation


Many among the 36 state governors across the country have refused to self-isolate despite contacts they had with prominent people that have tested positive to the coronavirus, our correspondents report.

Though some of the governors have declared that they have gone into self-isolation, checks by Daily Trust revealed that even among those that did not self-isolate, some performed public functions within and outside the government houses yesterday.

Considering their level of exposure in the last few days, it was learnt that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had written to all the governors to self-isolate after undergoing test for COVID-19 as a precautionary measure.

They were also advised to direct those they had contact with, including their commissioners, close aides and family members to self-isolate to stem the spread of the disease.


A resident undergoes free coronavirus test at the Mainland Hospital in Yaba, Lagos yesterday


Fayemi’s counsel shunned by some govs

Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, who is also chairman of Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), said yesterday he has been tested for COVID-19.

He also said he has gone into self-isolation while waiting for the result.

In a post on Twitter yesterday, Fayemi said, “I just took a COVID-19 test, having gone into self-isolation since yesterday (Tuesday) evening.

“I’m asymptomatic and feel well but I was in meetings with two people who had since tested positive.

“I look forward to an all-clear and have encouraged all my colleagues (governors) to take the test,” Fayemi said.

The Ekiti governor said he had meetings with some other governors in recent weeks, including Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State who tested positive for COVID-19 and is now undergoing treatment.

Kayode, therefore, advised his colleagues from the 35 states of the federation to test for the virus and go into self-isolation.

But reports from the states indicated only a few governors have embraced self-isolation while many have not.

When contacted, some of the spokesmen of the governors that yet to go for self-isolation gave different reasons while others refused to talk on the record.


El-Rufai chairs meetings, inspects markets

Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State yesterday chaired a high-level review meeting of the implementation of the extraordinary measures taken by the state to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

He later in the evening visited the Abubakar Gumi Market and other locations to inspect the enforcement of total closure.

Daily Trust reports that though the governor, his Deputy Dr Hadiza Balarabe and other senior government officials had observed the principle of social distancing at the meeting on COVID-19, El-Rufai did not go into self-isolation as advised by Fayemi.

However, our correspondent reports that El-Rufai was conspicuously absent at last Monday’s meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari and some governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the Presidential Villa where the postponement of the party’s National Executive Council meeting was announced.

The governor has also not travelled out of the country in the last few weeks, since his return from Lagos on Sunday, March 15.


Kwara gov in office yesterday 

Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara State is not in self-isolation as he was seen in his office yesterday where he performed his official duties.

The deputy governor, Kayode Alabi, while addressing the press on the decision of the state government to lockdown motor parks and social centres in the state to prevent the spread of COVID-19, said the insinuation that Abdulrazaq was in self-isolation for allegedly shaking hands with top federal officials was not true.

“I want to say emphatically that our governor is not on self-isolation and he is hale and hearty,” he said.


Gombe gov meets traditional rulers

Governor Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya on Monday addressed residents of the state in a state-wide broadcast and later inaugurated a 21-man taskforce committee to review and monitor the COVID-19 situation in the state.

Also yesterday, the governor had a meeting with religious and traditional rulers on the pandemic, where he reiterated the need for effective public enlightenment to sensitise the public.

When contacted, Governor Yahaya’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Ismaila Uba Misilli, said his principal was yet to get official communication from the NGF’s chairman.

He said they only read Governor Fayemi’s tweet online, saying the governor will act accordingly when he received and studied an official communication from Dr Fayemi.


Gov Emmanuel holds ‘lunch fellowship’

The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has debunked insinuations that the governor is in self-isolation.

Mr. Ekerete Udoh told Daily Trust in a text message that the governor yesterday had his usual monthly lunch-hour fellowship.

“This is another lie from the pit of hell. His Excellency Governor Udom Emmanuel was in the office today (yesterday), and we had our usual monthly lunch-hour fellowship with social distancing observed.

“He is hale and hearty and had, in his state broadcast to the people of the state last Saturday, outlined measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic, which to the glory of God, our state has no case of infection as we speak,” he said.

It was gathered that later in the day, Governor Emmanuel was escorted to the Victor Attah International Airport where he boarded a plane and left the state.


Zamfara gov met AIG, others

Governor Bello Muhammad Matawalle of Zamfara State yesterday met with Muhammad A. Mustapha, the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 10, the Commissioner of Police in Zamfara State, Usman Nagogo among others in respect to community policing.

Sources told Daily Trust that though the governor is not in self-isolation, “he has maintained a distance from large gatherings and that was what informed his decision to have the committee on community policing to be inaugurated at his personal residence to avoid large crowd.”


Zulum tests negative, still going for inspections

Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State is also not in self-isolation considering that he has been carrying out functions outside the government house.

Sources said he was one of the governors that received advice from the NCDC on the need to test for the COVID-19 and self-isolate, considering that he was at different functions with people that tested positive to virus, including Bauchi Governor Mohammed and Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to the President.

“The governor has been going about his normal activities at the government house and outside,” one of the sources said.

Zulum on Tuesday toured the state’s isolation centre in Maiduguri and held a meeting with his commissioners, among other functions. He also inspected some projects yesterday.

There was no official statement as to why the governor refused to go for self-isolation, but credible sources said he had gone for the test. “Yes, he is still going about with his official functions but he is taking some measures. For instance, there were few people with him during his visitations today even though that should not be an excuse considering the advice given by Governor Fayemi,” the source said.

Another source told Daily Trust yesterday that the governor had tested negative for COVID-19. “His result is out and he is fine; our major fear is that testing negative does not mean that you are completely vaccinated and this means if care is not taken, anything can happen,” he said.


Ogun gov returns from UK

Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State has not self-isolated himself despite his recent return from the United Kingdom, Daily Trust reports.

Abiodun, alongside other top personalities attended 80th birthday of the Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the UK, Ambassador George Adesola Oguntade in London. Oguntade clocked 80 on March 10.

His Special Adviser on Public Communications, Remmy Hazzan who neither confirmed nor denied  if Abiodun has isolated himself, described Fayemi’s position as “a responsible advice.”

It was also gathered that Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State is not in any form of isolation as being speculated.

Governor Akeredolu who was seen in the office till yesterday evening (Wednesday) appealed to citizens of Ondo state to follow all the preventive measures and maintain social distance to avoid the deadly corona virus.


Darius, Buni not in isolation too

Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba is not in self-isolation, Daily Trust has learnt.

The governor, since his return to the state last week, has been attending to state matters including meetings.

The governor also held meetings with the leadership of the Muslim council and Christian Association of Nigeria over the coronavirus pandemic.

His deputy, Alhaji Haruna Manu, also yesterday commissioned Mutumbiyu electrification project.

The occasion was witnessed by thousands of people including commissioners, members of the state House of Assembly and traditional rulers.

The chief press secretary to the governor, Malam Hassan Mijinyawa, told Daily Trust in a telephone interview that Governor Ishaku is not in self- isolation.

“Governor Darius is not in self-isolation; he has held meetings with various groups including religious leaders,” he said.

Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State is also not in self-isolation, sources said.

It was learnt that the governor would be going back to Yobe (yesterday) after several engagements in Abuja. “It is not clear whether he will proceed for self-isolation when he arrives,” a source said.


Isolation guidelines

The NCDC in its isolation guidelines for Nigeria stipulates that anyone who has been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 should self-isolate. It also stipulates that all returning travellers from high risk countries with on-going community transmission of COVID-19 should self -isolate

According to the centre, self-isolation means strictly staying at home or identified accommodation, away from situations where you mix with family members or the general public, for the period of 14 days.

A public health expert, Dr.  Ifeanyichukwu  Casmir,  said it was worrisome that many governors are not self -isolating even when they have been in contact with well -known persons who have tested positive to the disease or who have returned from  a foreign trip into the country recently.

He said by not isolating, they are exposing more Nigerians to the disease, adding that their action was also a precursor for local transmission of the disease.

Casmir, who is also the national publicity secretary of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), said beyond isolation, the blood samples of the governors should be taken for tests for COVID-19.

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