ince the outbreak and consequent spread of the COVID-19 pandemic across the world, it has recorded about 400,000 fatalities out of over 6.4million cases. Over 2.7 million persons have recovered from the attacks even as the list continues to spike.
However, in Nigeria with all the preventive measures including lockdown, social distancing, ban on congregational worships as directed by the Presidential Task Force, figures from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, (NCDC), over 6,200 cases have been recorded, with 191 deaths and 1,700 persons recovered.
In Kebbi State, Governor Atiku Abubakar Bagudu with the support of his wife, Dr. Zainab Bagudu Shankafi, a medical doctor, inaugurated the COVID-19 Task Force Committee headed by the Hon. Commissioner of Health Hon. Jafaru Ahmad. Since then the committee has recorded tremendous achievements by demonstrating containment measures along with the advocacy on the danger of the outbreak.
The committee visited all the 21 local government areas in the state and ensured that people complied with government directives by maintaining the social distancing, using face mask and other preventive measures.
The first outbreak in the state was discovered around March, 2020 when a patient from Sokoto State University Teaching Hospital was transferred to the Federal Medical Centre, Birnin Kebbi for medical reasons and 13 samples were taken to the NCDC and the result of one was positive.
Addressing the press, Governor Bagudu said that the affected person returned from Lagos State, the epicentre of the pandemic in Nigeria and was placed under isolation for further treatment.
The governor, who expressed shock over the incident, urged the people of the state not be panic but to maintain social distancing as well as good personal hygiene.
“Now that we have recorded one of the coronavirus cases, we just have to be careful,” he said as the state contacted the family of the affected 40-year-old man.
In its efforts to stop the spread, the state government also directed the immediate closure of all public and private schools. The Commissioner for Basic and Secondary School Education, Alhaji Muhammadu Magawata Aliero said the decision was taken by governors during their meeting in Abuja and Kaduna over the pandemic which has spread to almost 200 countries of the world.
The measure, he said was in order to safeguard the lives of students and teachers, even as he urged all stakeholders in the education sector in Kebbi, comprising heads of educational parastatals, Nigerian Union of Teachers, principals, education secretaries and private schools proprietors to comply with the directive.
He explained that as soon the situation improves, date for resumption would be announced through the media and examination will be conducted a week after resumption.
To ensure that students did not lose out, the state government commenced the E-learning electronic home studies for both secondary and primary schools students.
The programme which will be in collaboration with the State Ministry of Basic and Secondary School Education and the Ministry of Information Technology provided support to children’s education at home and gave them what the state described as the best of learning.
The Commissioner Ministry for Information and Technology, Alhaji Abdullahi Magoro said that the programme has kept the students active as large numbers were captured under the programme.
Meanwhile, as the cases increased, Governor Bagudu made the use of face masks compulsory and also directed all the security agents to collaborate with the Task Force to quarantine anybody coming into the state from all entries in order to curb the spread of the deadly virus.
Bagudu made wearing of face masks compulsory at designated public places throughout the state, appealed to people to adhere to the directive as well as maintain good personal and environmental hygiene.
He gave order to the all security agencies in conjunction with the Task Force on COVID-19 to quarantine persons coming into state from all entry points to check spread of the deadly virus into Kebbi.
He recalled that the circumstances which led to the death of a man who tested positive to coronavirus, saying that the victim’s relations took him away from UDUTH in Sokoto to the FMC Birnin Kebbi where he was admitted under false pretence, while the victim later absconded from the Federal Medical Centre to a private home where he passed away and samples removed from him showed that he was afflicted with the disease.
During investigations, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control discovered that about 10 cases identified in the state were contacts made by the deceased index case- action that propelled the appointment of the Deputy Governor, Colonel Sama’ila Yombe Dabai (rtd) to coordinate the operations of the State Task Force on COVID-19 on daily basis.
Governor Bagudu commended members of the Task Force for their courage and hard work towards curtailing the spread of the virus into Kebbi State. He extended similarly recognition to all health workers, security agencies, media, religious and community leaders as well as other people for their support towards making the state healthy with minimal affliction.
He then assured the affected people that the state government would distribute palliatives to vulnerable persons with emphasis on those quarantined to lessen their economic hardship arising from measures adopted on curbing the spread of COVI-19.
To curtail regional spread, all the Northern state governors resolved that Alimajari students should be repatriated to their various states, which meant Kebbi State received over 100 Alimajaris from Kano and Kaduna states.
It also received another 61 batches of Alimajari students from Kano State and settled them at the IDP Camp in Kalgo Local Government Area of the state, a decision designed to reduce street begging and curtail the spread of COVID-19 across the country.
“Kano State government had repatriated 61 Almajiri children, while we go another 82 and 21 from Kaduna State and the children were brought back to their state of origin, Kebbi, in company of their teachers, and this was witnessed by the various stakeholders, including members of the State Executive Council, local government councils’ chairmen and State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) among others,” the governor said.
The children were earlier tested and duly declared COVID-19 free, whereas those who have tested positive to the disease while in Kano were left there and have been receiving treatment, and would be repatriated afterwards.
The governor explained that, the decision to repatriate such children to their various states of origin was unanimously taken by the governors.
“This decision was taken in the best interest of the children, as well as the educational development of the region. Education is the basic fundamental human right of these children and we will not tinker with it. These children are from Maiyama, Jega, Argungu, Dandi, Suru, Bagudo and Kalgo local governments respectively,” he said
The children’s proper identities were ascertained and those whose proper identifies could not be immediately ascertained were taken to the various government orphanages. They were handed over to the chairmen of the local governments for them to be reunited with their various families for continuation of their education.
Each of the children was given a token amount of money as the state government promised to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the children’s education is not toyed with.
Governor Bagudu also ensured that those from other states in Nigeria were repatriated to their states of origin, like their counterparts from the neighboring counties through the Federal Government.
The Chairman, Task Force on COVID-19 ,who is the state Commissioner for Health, Alhaji Jafar Muhammed, had rolled out the number of the Almajiri children according to their local government areas as follows: Maiyama local government area, 13, Jega, nine, Argungu, 13, Dandi, 18, Kalgo, four, Bagudo, three while Suru Local government Area has only one.
The sustained fight against the dreaded coronavirus pandemic also led to the discharge of four additional patients at the Isolation Center in Kebbi Medical Center, Kalgo. The patients were discharged after their full recovery from the virus and had tested negative after treatment. With the four newly discharges, the total number of discharged cases in the state has now reached five.
The commissioner expressed happiness that after the COVID- 19 patients were isolated for two weeks, the first and second investigations conducted on them came out negative. In all, about six persons died of the virus in the state.
Muhammed further commended all the medical personnel and the patients for their patience during their isolation period and thanked God for their recovery, as well as subsequent integration back into their families and the mainstream society.
The former patients, three men and a woman, expressed gratitude to the Almighty Allah for their recovery. They also expressed appreciation to the Kebbi State government for taking good care of them while in the isolation Centre.
In jubilation, they called on the public to support and cooperate with government in its resilient efforts to contain the pandemic. They further advised members of the general public, especially those with travel history, to seek for medical advice when they notice any of the COVID-19 symptoms.
The Task Force Chairman had earlier announced the discharge and integration into the society of the state’s index case.