The Olofa of Offa, Oba Muftau Gbadamosi, on Thursday said the community was unaware of the health status of Kwara State’s COVID-19 index case before his burial in the community recently.
Gbadamosi made the clarification in Offa while briefing newsmen on the state government’s total lockdown directive on the community.
It would be recalled that the state’s Deputy Governor, Kayode Alabi, on Tuesday announced the commencement of a 14-day total lockdown of the community from 6pm on Wednesday.
Alabi, who is also the Chairman of the State Technical Committee on COVID-19, said the directive followed the death of the state’s index case, Alhaji Muideen Obanimomo, who hailed from Offa.
The wife of the index case, who had also tested positive to the virus, had been isolated at the Sobi Specialist Hospital in Ilorin, where government had opened an isolation centre.
Gbadamosi said Obanimomo was until his death a highly respected and illustrious son of Offa community
He said: “We were not aware or informed of the cause of his death and since he was loved and respected, many people attended his burial when his corpse was brought in.
“Since his corpse was coming from such a hospital like the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, we had no cause to suspect anything or doubt his health status.”
Gbadamosi, who reiterated the community’s readiness to fully comply with the government’s total lockdown order, said some people who had contact with the index case had been identified and isolated.
He said: “I had a meeting with the Deputy Governor, Mr. Kayode Alabi, yesterday (Wednesday), where I pledged our commitment and readiness to comply with the new government’s directive to curb COVID-19 spread.
“Some of the people that had contact with the index case had been cooperating with the authorities, some even showed up on their own.
“To the best of my knowledge, I think about 78 people are already isolated as regard their contact with the index case.”
Gbadamosi said the community had also mapped out series of palliatives and sensitisation measures to deal with the difficulties and stigmatisation arising from the total lockdown.
He said: “We have never relented on our own ever since the commencement of the initial partial lockdown to ensure that our people are relieved of the difficulties.
“Apart from the state government, which has distributed hand sanitisers among other incentives, a lot of communal efforts from groups, individuals and our own Offa Descendants Union had been ongoing.
“Some substantial bags of rice and other food items were distributed to every household in order to ameliorate the sufferings.
“On the issue of stigmatisation, we have continued to sensitise our neighbours on the need to work together to curb the spread of this deadly virus and not to resort to stigmatisation of any kind.”
Dr. Raji Rasaki, the Kwara State Commissioner for Health, on his part, said the government had received assistance from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control following the confirmation of two COVID-19 cases in the state.
Rasaki also disclosed that the government had purchased eight respirators and other equipment in providing healthcare for the isolated COVID-19 cases.
He said: “The NCDC had already sent down some of their equipment and personnel to the state to assist in caring and curbing the spread of the virus.
“We have also on our own trained and mobilised our health personnel to the 16 Local Government Areas of the state for optimum and effective combat of the pandemic.”
A NAN correspondent, who monitored the situation in the community, reports that there was full compliance with the total lockdown directive as residents remained indoors.
A detachment of policemen and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps personnel was sighted patrolling the metropolis to enforce the lockdown.