Kwara suspends Perm Sec over controversial COVID-19 Ops

Kwara State Technical Committee on COVID-19 pandemic has asked the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Dr Ayinla Abubakar to proceed on indefinite suspension. The decision followed the mishandling of the evacuation of a man who locals said had locked himself in his vehicle for days and had become distressed following some personal life challenges.

A footage had earlier surfaced of the mishandling of the rescue operation for the man. The committee is thoroughly embarrassed at the whole development. While the driver has been sacked from all activities of the committee for unilaterally allowing evacuation of the man by members of the public without waiting for the Rapid Response Team (RRT) to arrive the scene as instructed, the Permanent Secretary who directed him to proceed on the operation with a COVID-19 ambulance without due diligence and respect for all safety protocols is hereby asked to proceed on an indefinite suspension forthwith, according to a statement signed by Kayode Alabi, Deputy Governor and Chairman of the COVID-19 Committee. As the highest official involved in the RRT squad who gave the directive for the driver to proceed, the committee does not accept his explanation regarding the ugly development. He has been asked to hand over to the most senior officer on the team pending his return from suspension. This development also has necessitated a new round of refresher course (which is now ongoing) for all our ambulance drivers and members of the RRT as the scenario witnessed in the footage cannot be allowed to happen ever again.

“Finally, we are sorry once again for the development. It should not have happened. We do not take the support of the Kwara people for granted, and we reassure them that Kwara retains its proud ratings as one of the states with the best facilities, responsiveness, and general preparedness to manage this pandemic. This has been attested to by the NCDC team as well as the Stears Business rating of the level of states’ responsiveness and preparation for the pandemic.”

Mr. Kayode Alabi
Deputy Governor/Chairman, Kwara State Technical Committee on COVID-19
May 14, 2020.

Kwara Gov orders sack, query of COVID-19 team over mishandling of case

Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Wednesday directed the sack of a government driver that unilaterally attended to an unkempt person who was evacuated with a COVID-19 ambulance in Ilorin.

He also directed the issuance of queries to top officials of the state ministry of health for failing to act with necessary caution and expertise in the handling of the incident that was recorded in a video footage that has since gone viral.

“The Governor totally condemns the shoddy handling of the gentleman who was clearly going through a hard time,” Rafiu Ajakaye, chief press secretary to the Governor, said in a statement on Wednesday.

“He has directed that the driver be fired immediately. As the investigation revealed, the driver failed to heed clear directive not to take any action until the Rapid Response Team (RRT) arrives the scene. He evacuated the gentleman with the help of members of the public without waiting for the arrival of the RRT.”

The Governor further directed that members of the RRT be queried, while other steps are being taken to ensure this incident does not repeat itself. Involving just anybody in the evacuation of a suspected case, as was seen in the footage, was a clear and dangerous violation of COVID-19 safety protocols. The government equally finds it quite distasteful and unacceptable that the driver, who had long been involved in such operations, made unethical comments to somebody in distress.

“That incident was avoidable, and we sincerely apologise to the gentleman and to the people of Kwara State for the embarrassing development. We assure them this will not happen again.”

Rafiu Ajakaye
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor
May 13, 2020