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COVID-19: Zulum raises committee to investigate Borno’s first index case



Zulum approves N28.12m salary arrears for 2 agencies

Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno has inaugurated a committee to investigate the circumstances surrounding the first index case of COVID-19 in the state.

It was reported that the governor, who performed the inauguration at the Government House, Maiduguri on Thursday, gave the committee two weeks to submit its report.

Represented by the Deputy Governor, Umar Kadafur, who doubles as the Chairman of the COVID-19 Task Force in the state, Zulum said that the investigation had become necessary in order to clear all speculations.

He said: “The first COVID-19 pandemic occurred in Pulka town in Gwoza Local Government area.

“It was when a local staff of Medicine Sans Frontier, otherwise known as Doctors Without Borders, manifested the symptoms and was brought to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) for treatment.

“His blood sample was taken for testing to determine whether or not he had the virus. Unfortunately, by the time he tested positive for coronavirus, the patient had already died.

“This was the first confirmed index case of COVID-19 and the first death recorded as a result of the virus in the state.

“To determine whether the person’s nature of work with the international NGO in Pulka, Gwoza, had, in any way, been a factor in contracting the virus.

“To contact some relevant individuals and organisations in Gwoza, including the Emir and the international NGO, in order to determine whether they had any prior knowledge of the event that led to the virus in Pulka.

“Although, he had no record of recent travels, he had manifested the known symptoms of coronavirus which begged the question: “how did he contract the virus?” he said.

Zulum said that the committee would investigate the emergence of the first confirmed index case, considering the fact that the affected person had no record of recent travels or had recent contact with people who had tested positive.

The committee, he also said, would assess the activities and interactions of the victim with his colleagues and relatives between the time he started manifesting the symptoms and the time he was brought to UMTH.

The governor said that the investigation would determine whether such activities had contributed in making the situation worse, especially in the spread of the virus.

Zulum said that findings by the committee would enable the government ascertain and determine the culpability or otherwise of any individual, group or organisation, directly or indirectly involved in the emergence of the virus.

He added that government would apportion blame, where applicable.

In his remarks, the Chairman of the committee, Prof. Isa Marte, assured that his committee would complete the assignment within two weeks, as directed by the governor.

Marte, who is also the state Commissioner for Higher Education, said that the assignment was very important, considering the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If this pandemic or virus is not treated very fast, it can have serious effect, not only on the lives of the people but also, on the economy of the state.

“This investigation is very important, even for the record of the government to know how the first index case got the virus and this committee will objectively investigate the matter, without fear or favour,” he said.

Marte said that the committee would not mind to step on toes in its quest at unraveling the circumstances surrounding the first index case.

Hamza Suleiman

NEWSVERGE, published by The Verge Communications is an online community of international news portal and social advocates dedicated to bringing you commentaries, features, news reports from a Nigerian-African perspective. A unique organization, founded in the spirit of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, comprising of ordinary people with an overriding commitment to seeking the truth and publishing it without fear or favour. The Verge Communications is fully registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a corporate organization.



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