Well as it was about getting dark, a masked medical doctor who was examining to newsmen at the Yahaya Memorial Hospital, Ankpa, Kogi state, held his gaze at his latest patient. After a couple of more questions, the middle-aged doctor reclined to his armchair and, with a deep breath, admitted he was worried that the symptoms were very much like those of the coronavirus.
“But didn’t they say there is no coronavirus in Kogi?” the reporter asked.
“Who told you?” the doctor immediately cut in, drawing his seat a little backward as if he was now trying to keep the two-metre distance that he did not bother about earlier.
“Are they testing? The chief judge died of COVID. Was he not in Abuja that they managed him?”
“But if there is coronavirus, it will be obvious, people will be falling sick,” the reporter asked, to which the doctor confirmed that people are indeed falling sick.
“And the rate of deaths is high. You don’t know? People are dying everyday, generally (not just in Ankpa). More than the normal (rate).”
Well he then looked up to a nurse standing by his table:
“Are people not dying anyhow?” to which she nodded in the affirmative.
“They are dying o, plenty. In the villages, you go hear say this person died, that person died. Them dey die plenty now. That is the worry. The rate of death is high now,” the doctor lamented, before returning to the reporter’s medical document as he wrote down the tests needed to be done.
It is over six weeks since May 27 when Kogi recorded its first two coronavirus cases. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has announced three more infections in the state and two of these cases have died. But the state government has continued to deny the existence of the virus, accusing the NCDC of falsifying cases.
However, long before the index cases, medical doctors in Kogi had accused the government of frustrating efforts to test residents for the virus.
This was later corroborated by an investigation done by TheCable.