Lawmakers To Probe Controversy On Benue COVID-19 Index Case

A combination of photos showing Mrs Susan Idoko and the map of Benue State.

The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the case involving Mrs Susan Idoko, the index case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Benue State who was transferred to Abuja.

The matter was raised on Tuesday as a motion of urgent public importance by a member of the House from Benue State, Blessing Onuh, during plenary at the lower chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

Onuh, who represents Otukpo/Ohimini Federal Constituency, said Idoko was quarantined by the government following misinformation and diagnoses.

According to her, the 56-year-old woman who is an indigene of Benue State with dual citizenship from the United Kingdom flew into Nigeria on March 22 for her mother‘s funeral.

The lawmaker added that Idoko, unfortunately, got quarantined by the government for COVID-19, saying it was an assertion backed by discrepancies in the laboratory results.

She noted that Idoko had a long flight following her departure from the United Kingdom and must have had jetlag – a common occurrence that necessitated her presentation to the hospital where she was primarily managed.

Onuh decried that the details of Idoko were not consistent with that of the lady who was referred from Benue State Teaching Hospital, Makurdi to Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital, Abuja.

She added that the personal information on the laboratory result from the NCDC did not tally with Idoko’s personal details.

According to the lawmaker, COVID-19 is real but not a death sentence or a yardstick for discrimination, and human rights infringement or violation, and Idoko’s case should not be different.

While commending the measures put in place by the government to tackle the disease, she said Idoko has begun to deteriorate psychologically and already having suicidal thoughts.

Onuh claimed that Idoko has been in isolation for about 50 days and has been forced to take treatment for COVID-19 even in her asymptomatic state.

Following contributions from other lawmakers, the House resolved to mandate the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), through the Federal Ministry of Health to critically evaluate Idoko as a matter of urgency and if proven otherwise, she should be allowed to go home.

It also resolved to carry out quality contact tracing and urge persons who are symptomatic to go for proper clinical evaluation and management with prompt release when they return to their premorbid state.

The lawmakers condemned the stigmatisation, inhumane treatment, and violation of the human rights of the people.

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