I’m not responsible for your problem, Ortom tells index case

Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has told the alleged COVID-19 index case in the state, Mrs Susan  Okpe,  that he is not the architect of her woes.

United Kingdom-based Okpe, who was  in the state  in March for a burial, has accused the federal and  state governments of keeping her in an isolation centre  after  claiming she was coronavirus positive and named as Benue’s index case.

In a viral  video, Okpe  claimed  she had not  taken any medication in   her   43 days in isolation and had not  developed COVID-19  symptoms.

She accused Ortom  of stigmatisation by    disclosing  her identity and  not forwarding  the results of the tests to her.

But the governor  denied her accusation, saying it was the  Nigeria  Centre  for Disease Control that  carried out the COVID-19 testing  on her.

In a  statement by  his  Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase,  on Saturday, Ortom said   he had no regrets in revealing Okpe’s   identity.

He said,     “The decision was made in the best interest of the people of the state who have continued to appreciate the governor for the proactive approach to contain the pandemic. With the identity of the index case known,  tracing and isolating  all who came in contact with her became easy.

“It is the constitutional duty of the governor to ensure  safety and wellbeing of his people. Section 26 (2) (e) of the National Health Act 2014 gives the government the powers to disclose information relating to a person if ‘non-disclosure of the information represents a serious threat to public health’.”

He added,  “Even in the United Kingdom where she left for Nigeria, the Prime Minister tested positive for COVID-19 and went public to say that he had contracted the disease. He was treated and later discharged.

“But here, Mrs Okpe has refused treatment and taken to daily production of videos to castigate all medical personnel who attempt to attend to her, government officials and anyone who holds a contrary opinion regarding her case.”

“It is important to state that Ortom is not the architect of Mrs Okpe’s problems. If there is anyone who promotes unity and shows love to the various ethnic groups in Benue State, that person is  Ortom.

“She claimed not to have seen her COVID-19 test results, and in another breath described the same results as fake. How was she able to know that the results are fake without seeing them?

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