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Edo 2020: Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello gifts sports ministry N40m

Edo 2020: Why NCDC officials subjected Kogi contingent to lengthy COVID-19 tests

Officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) have subjected the Kogi State contingent to the 20th edition of the National Sports Festival (NSF) to lengthy and rigorous COVID-19 tests.

The contingent which includes 41 athletes and 35 officials against all expectations tested negative for the tests carried out at the sports fiesta in Benin City, Edo State.

The team, which got their test results on Sunday morning underwent a lengthy test as NCDC officials were unnecessarily high-handed during the tests process.

This cannot be unrelated to the stance of the Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello who had dismissed reports that he either had the disease or that it had not reached his state.

He refused to join in the lengthy lockdowns adopted by other governors at the NCDC’s insistence. He kept his state and its economy open throughout the lockdown in the country.

It will be recalled the Kogi State Government had insisted that it would not force its athletes to take the COVID-19 vaccines ahead of the festival.

Although his position has set him on a collision course severally with the NCDC, the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 and other bodies in the coalition managing the disease for the country have left Bello and Kogi to their fates.

When an NCDC team visited his state in May of 2020 to test for the disease, he tried to quarantine them for the 14 days duration and they fled back to Abuja.

He would later point to the WHO team which went on investigation to Wuhan in January 2021 and accepted quarantine for the 14 days duration by the Chinese authorities, as proof that he was right and they, wrong.

It was against this backdrop that special focus was placed on the Kogi contingent on entering Benin City for the festival by NCDC officials.

Briefing journalists at the screening centre in the Games Village, the deputy Governor and Chairman of the LOC, Philip Shaibu, noted that the state had to be strict with the guidelines so as not to use the games as an avenue to spread Covid-19 in the state which has already been flattened.

Shaibu explained that in the event PTF gives approval for Taraba and Oyo states to be admitted, the teams may have to go through strict Covid-19 screening and testing again before they will be allowed into camp.

Shaibu said the two athletes which tested positive to Covid-19 instant PCR test on arrival have been taken to the Stella Obasanjo Hospital Isolation Centre.

He said unless the PTF on Covid-19 gives a counter directive, both states have failed to meet with the Covid-19 guidelines of the games.

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