Health minister, governor agreed to resolve the controversy – Elder brother
By Chioma Obinna & Gabriel Olawale
As controversy trails the purported COVID-19 index case in Benue State, the family of Mrs Susan Okpe Idoko Lawani, the woman at the centre of the controversy, has demanded a rerun of the coronavirus test which earlier indicated she tested weakly positive.
A spokesperson for the family, Dr Felix Lawani, who is Susan’s elder brother, alleged that the purported test results earlier generated by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, was never showed to the family or the hospital where she was admitted.
In a telephone interview with Vanguard, Lawani, disclosed that the Minister of Health, Professor Osagie Ehinare and the State Governor, Samuel Orton have agreed that a rerun of the test for Susan should be done.
Lawani, who is a Pathologist and Medical Consultant on contract with the Federal University of Agriculture, Markudi, said Susan came in from the United Kingdom, for their mother’s burial but fell ill four days later.
“My sister is a British citizen, she had earlier tested herself and children for COVID-19 and they were allegedly negative. Five days later she complained of pain and feverish condition so we took her to the hospital. The hospital collected her history and treated her for malaria and typhoid. The next day her temperature came down and we insisted that she needed to be screened for COVID-19 since she was coming from a high-risk country.
“Her sample was taken with the hope that the result would be out on Saturday, but what we saw was a press conference by the Governor of the State calling her name before the press that she was positive and that she was an index case. The state government officials, security men and ambulance besieged the hospital.
“We didn’t like that because we expected that if the result was positive, the doctor looking after her would have told her at least. Till now, she doubts the result. We prevailed on her for the government to take her to the isolation centre because you cannot fight the government. She agreed and went with them to where they called Isolation Centre at Benue state University Hospital in Makurdi, and she has been there since.”
Responding to Susan’s refusal to cooperate with the government, Lawani alleged that during the first two days she was at the isolation centre, no medical personnel came to take her history and she was angry because she believed she was being used for a show.
Lawani said Susan was further annoyed and irritated each time the officials came to talk to her, she was being videoed and recorded.
“Most annoying part is that each time they want to come and talk to her they will be videoing her, and that really irritated her.”
He told Vanguard that the Minister of Health, Prof Osagie Ehanire contacted the family on the issue with a promise to rectify the situation.
“The latest is that the Honorable Minister of Health was approached, he called me and spoke to her briefly, he promised to rectify mistakes made by the state. The Governor and the Minister spoke to me that they will make a decision on whether to move her to Abuja or re-runs the test. She is reacting uncooperative because she is traumatized.”
“Right now, she is traumatised. For me, as the elder brother, I don’t want to be distracted by the mistakes of the state government. Obviously the situation is affecting her physiologically to the extent that she has refused to speak to any of her relations even me.
“The summary is that the result purportedly to be weakly positive was not shown to her, instead they decide to forcefully take her to isolation centre and that didn’t go well with her. They are contemplating moving her to Abuja. That is her request.”