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EXTRA: Politicians using COVID-19 to play games with lives, says Yahaya Bello

Ebunoluwa Olafusi

In an ironic twist, Yahaya Bello, governor of Kogi state, has alleged that politicians are playing games with the lives of Nigerians through COVID-19.

He is one of the two governors denying the confirmed cases of the pandemic in their states — the other being Ben Ayade of Cross River.

The Kogi governor has been accused of playing games with the lives of his citizens.

But speaking on Thursday while hosting the board of trustees of Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation at his office in Lokoja, he turned the accusation against those acknowledging the disease which has infected over 26,000 Nigerians and killed over 600.


The governor, who insisted that Kogi is COVID-free, said the disease is not new in Nigeria and that the country has its own way of treating it.

He said rather than subjecting citizens to hardship through a lockdown, the country should be busy exploring ways of treatment.

Bello said the death of Nasir Ajanah, the state’s chief judge, was natural and should not be attributed to COVID-19.


“Let us stop this game, Nigerians are suffering, instead of the lockdown with its attendant negative effects on the people, why can’t we turn it to employment opportunities, providing clothes for face masks to be imported to those countries who have the disease,” Bello said.

“COVID-19 is not a new disease in our climate, we have our own way of treating it, that is what we should be exploiting rather than subjecting our people to hardship, hunger, and starvation through the lockdown.

“We know his medical history, he was my brother, we know we have been managing him since 2016 but this time, he was completely isolated, no one was allowed to even speak to him until he passed away, we cannot afford to be playing games with lives of Nigerians, this must stop.”

The Kogi government has repeatedly accused the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) of perpetrating illegality through COVID-19.

Two patients who were transferred to Abuja from the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Lokoja, Kogi, tested positive for COVID-19 in the nation’s capital, but the Bello administration still insisted that there is no coronavirus in the state.

On Wednesday, doctors at FMC, Lokoja, declared indefinite strike over the poor response of Kogi government to COVID-19.

Gunmen had broken into the hospital, attacking doctors and other health workers ahead of a media briefing on COVID-19.

The government later blamed the incident on aggrieved patients, a claim some doctors who spoke to TheCable, refuted.


They had said the briefing was disrupted to stop a protest on the status of some COVID-19 patients who were being treated in the hospital.

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