Palpable fear gripped residents of Kuto, Oke-Ilewo, Ibara and Isale Igbein in Abeokuta South Local Government Area of Ogun State as Alex, a Bennoise, who has just returned from the Republic of Benin, suspected to have contracted Coronavirus pandemic, died and was dumped on Kuto-Oke-Ilewo road.
The Bennoise, who died in the company of his friend, another Bennoise (name withheld), was dumped on the road, in front of the State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and opposite the Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) Kuto branch in Abeokuta.
Until his death, Alex had been resident in Ijebu Ode in Ogun state, but returned from the Republic of Benin last week through Idi-Iroko border area and subsequently fell sick which prompted his friend and travel partner to secure vehicle from Ijebu-Ode in a mission to take him to a relative in Owode Idi-Iroko, a border area between Nigeria and Republic of Benin.
Meanwhile, the Ogun State Ministry of Environment has decontaminated the GTB area of Kuto in Abeokuta where a Bennoise national suspected to have contracted COVID-19 corpse was dumped by a moving vehicle on Tuesday.
In a press statement signed and issued in Abeokuta, Ogun state capital, by Abiodun Abudu-Balogun, the Commissioner for Environment read, “Ogun State Ministry of Environment has decontaminated the GTB area where the dead Covid19 suspect was picked up. Everyone should go about their normal duties without any fear.”
Speaking on possible cause of Alex’s death in Abeokuta, his travel partner, who clutched his corpse to himself and sought help in a video that has been trending on social media, said in raw Yoruba, “Alex, my friend, took ill last week immediately he returned from Cotonou, the Republic of Benin.
“Alex and me are both Bennoise nationals, he was residing in Ijebu Ode before this incident. I was trying to take him to his relative in Owode, Idi-Iroko when an officer (in Nigeria Police or Paramilitary) conveyed both of us in his car at Sagamu area going to Owode, Idi-Iroko but the officer hurriedly dumped both of us along the road, here in Abeokuta when he noticed that Alex had died in his car.”
This development caused some panic as it came at a time when the state has already recorded 85 cases of COVID-19 and people are speaking against porosity of Nigeria’s international borders with the Republic of Benin that had allowed some returnees from Togo, Ghana and the Republic Benin to enter the country through either Idi-Iroko border in Ipokia local government area or Ilara or Iwoye-Ketu borders in Imeko-Afon local government area.
In his reaction, Emmanuel Ojo, Senior Special Adviser on New Media to Governor Dapo Abiodun, said that government was already aware of the incident and would surely act responsibly to mitigate its effects.
Ojo however advised residents of Abeokuta to remain calm, saying: ”This is to reassure the general Ogun state public, especially residents of Abeokuta, to remain calm, as regards the trending video of a Cotonou returnee (male) opposite GTBank, around Simeon Adebo Library, Kuto.
“I have contacted the appropriate authorities, including the Commissioner for Health, and they are on top of the situation.
“The returnee and the second male with him will be immediately picked up, and the tracing of all their contacts will begin as treatment is given at the closest Isolation Centre in the State.
“Residents around the area are strongly advised to stay indoors and avoid going near the suspected patients,” he said.
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