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COVID-19: States off on their Tangent

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In Kogi State, the Government literally chased away officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) who arrived the State to follow up with claims that there are no cases of COVID-19. The Government threatened NCDC officials with sequestration and quarantine for 14 days, should they insist on carrying out tests in the State for COVID-19 cases. The State Government has insisted that there are no COVID-19 occurrences in the State. According to the Governor, no tests have been carried out because there has been no case. A totally illogical conclusion – without tests, there can be no cases.  A different variant is Cross River State where the State Government has also been uncooperative with the NCDC to verify claims of no COVID-19 cases. The two States, Kogi and Cross River are  two of the 36 States in the country who have made no efforts and indeed have blocked efforts to carry out tests for COVID-19. Observers worry that the two States like the proverbial ostrich are hiding their head in the sand in the hope that they can get away with claims of no cases. It would appear that both States believe that any incidents or report of COVID-19 occurrence in their States would “demarket” them from tourist and investment visits.

Kano State that now competes for top spot in the incidence of COVID-19 had at the beginning also followed the same path, insisting that there was no COVID-19 case in the State. Today, Kano is one of the most affected States. Its numbers of infections are jumping sporadically and in one instance, 150 people were reportedly buried within a one-week timeframe.

Nigerians worry that States are not showing sufficient efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. Several are only showing gestures of doing something but in substance, are making no efforts to provide medical facilities, equip hospitals or isolation centres or provide any infrastructure. Worst, majority of the States are providing no support to their citizens who are victims of the pandemic with loss of jobs, no income and are forced into a lockdown under poor and unsanitary living conditions.