I’m not the cause of your problem, Ortom tells Benue index case

 

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has informed the United Kingdom returnee who is the state’s COVID-19 index case, Mrs Susan Idoko Okpe, to redirect her grievances to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), saying he is not the architect of her woes.

Mrs Okpe had taken to the social media, castigating the governor for her continuous stay in the isolation centre at the National Hospital, Abuja for the past 43 days without being discharged.

Recall that the index case had, few days after arriving in Makurdi from the UK for the burial of her late mother, gone to a private hospital for treatment and was asked to test for COVID-19 which resulted in her testing positive for the disease.

The 54-year-old woman had continued to raise series of allegations online, accusing the state and federal governments of keeping her in the isolation center without any reason.

She alleged stigmatisation as a result of the disclosure of her identity and the failure to direct the result of her test to her personally.

But reacting to the series of online videos made by the state’s COVID-19 index case in which she had repeatedly levelled accusations against Ortom, the governor said he had no regrets in revealing her identity.

According to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Terver Akase on Saturday, Ortom said, “the decision was made in the best interest of the people of the state who have continued to appreciate the governor for the proactive approach to contain the pandemic. With the identity of the index case known, tracking and isolation of all who came in contact with her became easy.

“It is the constitutional duty of the governor to ensure the safety and well-being of his people. Section 26 (2) (e) of the National Health Act 2014 gives the government the powers to disclose information relating to a person, if non-disclosure of the information represents a serious threat to public health.”

 

“On the UK returnee’s claim that she no longer trusts anyone in Nigeria, Governor  Ortom reminds Mrs Okpe that even in the UK that she left for Nigeria, the Prime Minister tested positive for COVID-19 and went public to say that he had contracted the disease. He was treated and later discharged.

“But here, Mrs Okpe has refused treatment and taken to daily production of videos to castigate all medical personnel who attempt to attend to her, government officials and anyone who holds a contrary opinion regarding her case.”

On the allegation of whipping up ethnicity sentiment in Benue, Ortom said the deputy governor who is chairman of the Benue State COVID-19 Action Committee and the secretary of the committee, the commissioner for health, are from the same place Mrs Okpe hails from.

“So, the insinuation that she is being persecuted on grounds of her ethnicity is unfounded and misleading. It is important to state that Governor Ortom is not the architect of Mrs Okpe›s problems. If there is anyone who promotes unity and shows love to the various ethnic groups in Benue State, that person is Governor Ortom.

«She claimed not to have seen her COVID-19 test results; and in another breadth, she described the same result as fake. How was she able to know that the result is fake without seeing it?

«Coronavirus tests are carried out by the NCDC, not Benue State government, Governor Ortom or any other person. No one could, therefore, have tampered with the same result simply to stigmatise the index case,” the statement read.

 

 

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