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I’m not a COVID-19 patient, Benue Index case cries out

Pascal Oparada

Going by the claims of the family of an alleged Coronavirus patient in Benue State, Susan Idoko Okpe, the state may not have Covid-19 after all.

Susan flew into Nigeria from the United Kingdom en route Kenya on an 8-hour flight and upon arrival developed a temperature and checked herself into a medical facility where she was kept for observation.

According to the 50 year old, she was tested for the virus at the Abuja airport and was given the all-clear. But, upon arrival, she self-isolated and developed a mild fever which, she said, her doctors diagnosed to be malaria and typhoid.

“I was told by my doctors that the standard practice is to call for a test from the state ministry of health. After two days, my temperature normalised from 39:2 to 36;4.

Susan said she expected to be released but wondered why the doctors were still keeping her.

To her dismay, Susan said a friend came to tell her that the state government had organised a press conference in her name, alluding to the fact that she has Coronavirus.

She said the next day an ambulance came with armed men and removed her from the private hospital where she was receiving treatment.

Corroborating her story, Susan’s brother, Doctor Felix Lawani, who spoke with  the reporter on telephone, said that his sister does not have Covid-19 as she has not had any of the symptoms associated with the disease since she was kept in isolation.

According to Lawani, she flew into the country negative for COVID-19 but developed a fever and was taken to a private hospital and diagnosed with malaria and typhoid and was treated.

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Lawani, who is a surgeon, said that the Benue State epidemiological unit came the next day and took samples of her blood and did her swab which they purportedly sent to Abuja to Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

He said the result was due out last Saturday but no one has come to tell them if she tested positive to COVID-19.

Lawani said the state government did not cite the test conducted on Susan at the press conference.

He said he suspects mischief by the Benue State government. According to him, the Benue State Deputy, Benson Abounu, has been in touch with the family and promised that the state would investigate the issue.

Lawani said presently, Idookpe is fine without any symptoms of the disease.

The woman in the centre of the drama, Idoko Okpe, alleged abandonment and said she does not have Coronavirus.

“I want the world, Nigerians and Benue State to hear my side of the story and verify that I am not COVID-19 positive.

“I left my children behind in London. All of them are negative. They are all healthy till this moment, ” she said.