Kwara Gov restates COVID-19 readiness amid fresh training for workers

• Says ambulance incident, unfortunate exception
• Rescued man tests negative for COVID-19

Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Friday attended a second round of refresher training for health workers in the state amid assurances that the state is not dropping the ball in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

AbdulRazaq told reporters in Ilorin that the training — the second in 24 hours — followed the recent incident in which the evacuation of a distressed man was mishandled.

“The simulation we have just witnessed was the second in the last 24 hours and that speaks to the fact that we realise that there was a need to up our game following the unfortunate incident earlier in the week,” the Governor told reporters after the simulation.

“What happened was an unfortunate exception which should not have happened. We acknowledge the gap, we are sorry about it, and here we are immediately fixing it. What you have seen is like a refresher course for our men to be at their best in the future.”

The Governor said the state is not taking any chances to protect the people, saying such efforts have helped to prevent community transmission of the virus.

“I assure the people of Kwara State that we are on top of the situation. Our heart goes to the gentleman that was rescued. His case was indeed that of the down moments of life. He is being taken care of. I am glad to say he is doing fine now at our Accident and Emergency Unit,” he said.

“For abundance of caution, we took his sample after stabilising and freshening him up. And I am glad to say that we were right after all. He tested negative. Even so, I am saying that we could have done better. That was why we took actions against officials we established did not measure up to our expectations while we immediately fix all the gaps going forward.”

Rafiu Ajakaye
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor
May 15, 2020.

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

COVID-19: ABDULRAZAQ MULLS LABOUR-CIVIL SOCIETY BORDER VOLUNTEERS • Kwara to have test centre soon • Again, Gov engages CSOs

Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has suggested the setting up of a volunteer team drawn from the labour unions and the civil society to complement the efforts of the security agencies to stop the influx of people into the state.

“It has been established that some people sneak into the state between 10p.m. and 5a.m. This poses a grave danger to us when you consider the fact that virtually all our COVID-19 cases were imported. We would like to have volunteers from Labour and the civil society who, working with the security agencies, would man our borders between those hours,” AbdulRazaq said during a virtual meeting with leaders of the CSOs late Monday.

The CSOs were represented by Mallam Lawal Olohungbebe of the Centre for Community Development (KWASU); Dr Lateef Alagbonsi of the Elite Network for Sustainable Development (ENETSUD); Hajia Bilqees Oladimeji of the COVID-19 National CSO Emergency Intervention Group (CEIG); Idris Buko Musa of the Coalition of Kwara North Groups (CKNG); AbdulRahman Ayuba of the Centre for Community Empowerment and Poverty Eradication (CCEPE); Anthonia Oshiniwe of the Theios Caregivers Initiative; AbdulRasheed Sa’adudeen of the Volunteers of Ilorin Community and the Emirate (VOICE); and Saliu Saliu of the Haashim Initiative for Community Advancement (HICA).

The meeting was a follow up to the first engagement AbdulRazaq had with some civil society leaders in April during which he commended them for their “credible roles” in the distribution of the government’s palliatives after he invited them to join the initiative.

He said the invitation had been premised on the need to ensure that the palliatives facilitated with public funds get to every Kwaran, irrespective of their affiliations — a first-of-its-kind step the Governor said may have offended political interests.

“We are here to serve the people. We have nothing to hide and that is why we called you to observe and own the process. We may have our doubts and we may disagree on modalities of how to get things done for our people but we must never at any time turn our back against one another,” he told the CSO leaders.

AbdulRazaq said he had called the Monday meeting to formally receive a position paper of the CSO on how to further develop the state as well as brief them on the status of Kwara in fighting the deadly virus, adding: “We all need to do more to contain the spread of the virus and prevent community transmission.”

He said the government would offer incentives and security cover to volunteers who would form a border surveillance team manning the various entry posts of the state from its western and northern flanks — especially Eiyenkorin, Oko Olowo and Jebba where influx of people has been reported in the past few days.

AbdulRazaq reiterated his call on Kwara communities and individuals to take responsibility as the country struggles to flatten the curve of transmission of the virus amid rising infection rate.

He said Kwara would soon have a testing centre as the NCDC team is expected in the state in the coming days to discuss the issue, adding that there was no use buying rapid test kits whose results would not be recognised.

The civil society leaders welcomed the challenge amid calls on the administration to strengthen enforcement of various regulations put in place to tackle the pandemic.

They observed that some of the issues raised in their position paper recently sent to the Governor have been addressed such as a need to relax lockdown internally, ensure regular payment of the civil servants’ salary, and compulsory quarantine of anyone who sneaked into the state.

They however urged the government to look into other areas of concern such as a review of the social investment programme because of paucity of funds, getting accurate data for proper planning, independent COVID-19 fundraising committee, credit facilities for farmers, irrigation, open governance and increased accountability and transparency, and development of a master plan for the state, among others.

Olohungbebe, who summarised the position of the CSOs, commended the Governor for taking engagement with the civil society so serious in a way never seen before.

“We thank you for this engagement. The civil society should not be (seen as) rival to the government. We should be partners. We just want the best for our state. There is no doubting your good intentions for our state but we also urge you to consider the passage of the FOI Bill. Other issues we want the government to look at are farmers’ market, off taker policy, and agriculture master plan,” he said.

Rafiu Ajakaye
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor
May 12, 2020

AA Visionary Leadership; A conversation with Prof Wale Sulaiman

By Boladale Sodiq O., B. A, M. A, MNIM, USIP.

The surge of the Covid-19 pandemic has continued to ravage the globe with the unprecedented health and economic consequences on the countries of the world. Africa has been at the centre of global discussion with emphasis on the level of preparedness of African countries in combating the ferocious phenomenon. Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa is central to the African emergency and clinical response to Covid-19.

Since the out break of the Covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria, the Federal Government and its relevant agencies has been on top of the matter. Inspite of the overwhelming record of Covid-19 patients, the country has recorded some success at restoring back good health to infected persons.

The Kwara State government has proven beyond reasonable doubt that its government is sensitive to social care and has a proactive consciousness towards combating health challenges. Essentially, the State government under the leadership of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq,  has put in place emergency mechanisms to forestall any dangerous trend that may increase the infiltration or spread of the Coronavirus.

The erection of the Sobi isolation centre, recruitment of more medical personnel and expertise coupled with the procurement of necessary medical facilities before the outbreak of the epidemic was a laudable testimony.

It is against this backdrop that Mr. Boladale Sodiq, an investigative journalist engaged Professor Wale Sulaiman, Special Adviser to the Kwara State Governor on Health Matters and Vice-Chairman of the Kwara State Covid-19 Committee on an exclusive interview in order to assess the achievements, challenges and prospects on fighting against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kwara records first COVID-19 death, four new cases

Kwara State Government hereby announces the death of a COVID-19 case. The fellow had recently arrived Kwara from Lagos with his wife and a child shortly after he suffered stroke at his Lagos base. Before his death, the government had treated him, his wife and their child as suspected cases and samples were taken from them. The results of their samples came back positive.

Unfortunately, he died early Saturday morning even before the family got to know about their COVID status. He has been buried accordingly. Everyone involved in the burial has now had their samples taken. Because of the peculiarity of this development, the Rapid Response Team has moved in to bring all those involved into the isolation centre, including the wife and the child.

We pray to God to repose his soul. We urge citizens to see COVID-19 for what it is: a deadly and highly contagious virus that requires adherence to all safety protocols, including obeying the lockdown order. We repeat that there is no shame or blame in contracting the virus as this is a global pandemic from which no one is immune.

We commiserate with his family on this painful development while also wishing all of our patients quick recovery.

The government also announces four new positive cases of COVID-19 — from amongst those who sneaked into the state from the northwestern axis of the country.

This brings to 28 the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Kwara State. Of these, 19 are active while nine have been discharged. All active cases are asymptomatic.

Rafiu Ajakaye
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor/
Spokesman, Kwara State Technical Committee on COVID-19