Wednesday, April 1, 2020 7:51 pm
By Ademola Adegbamigbe
Indigenes of Ejigbo town in Osun State (like their Ogbomosho counterparts) are a peripatetic lot. Like Jews, they are found in different parts of the world in general and West Africa in particular. In their business sojourns outside, they bring goodies to develop their city. Late last month, however, there was a flip side to the Ejigbo adventurous spirit. Rather than bringing CFA franc, Euros or Dollars home, they, unwittingly, imported coronavirus which has, according to Mr. Tayo Adebowale, President, Ejigbo Eagles Club, put the city in bad light.
As at Wednesday, 31 March, coronavirus figures, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), increased from 139 on Tuesday to 151. Among them, nine new cases were in Osun State, which before then had just five. Three others were in Ekiti and Edo states.
Rafiu Isamotu, Commissioner for Health and Ismail Omipidan, the chief press secretary to Governor Gboyega Oyetola, were quoted by Premium Times that the state’s figure of confirmed cases suddenly rose to 14 between Monday and Wednesday. According to Mr. Omipidan, “apart from the index case, who had earlier surrendered himself for test and another contact, who screened positive, the additional 12 cases are among 127 indigenes of the state who returned from Cote d’Ivoire last week. As a result of the development, Osun has now overtaken neighboring Oyo to rank third on the ladder of states with high numbers of recorded cases in Nigeria.”
Problem started when Ejigbo indigenes were returning from Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire to beat the impending lock down of the city by the Ivorian government. It was like finding oneself between the rock and a hard place. The 127 travelers, who came in six vehicles, were stranded at the border between Ogun and Benin Republic. In the wake of checkmating the spread of covid-19, Ogun State Government had closed that entry point.
That Friday, 27 March, Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, informed Governor Oyetola of the stranded Osun indigenes. The latter appealed to the governor to let them in. He did. And for that Oyetola was grateful. As contained in a letter of appreciation written by Osun State’s commissioner for information, Funke Egbemode, Governor Oyetola thanked his Ogun counterpart on behalf of the returnees, “who were not only allowed access to pass through the state but were also escorted by security operatives from the state.” Egbemode added: “Governor Oyetola said that beyond the information, the Ogun State Government also graciously provided security escort that accompanied the returnees to Osun. Governor Oyetola thanked the Ogun State governor and the entirety of the state, for approaching the situation with a brotherly understanding.”
The 127 returnees were camped within the dormitory of a high school in the town. On Wednesday when Mr Tayo Adebowale, President, Ejigbo Eagles Club, spoke to TheNEWS, he said the elites were making contacts with families of the returnees to submit themselves for screening. He said more cops were needed to ensure compliance. He told this magazine further that of the 127 returnees, 47 were tested, seven first tested positive, then five later (12 in number). Now the returnees turned themselves into disaster waiting to happen. Many of them, according to him, escaped and spent two nights with their family members.
Adebowale said that for the situation to be effectively brought under control, “we need more field personnel, equipment, police cooperation (some of them collect bribes), health personnel and more enlightenment.”
He was worried that there is apprehension in the town right now, members of the elite in big cities outside Ejigbo are worried about their parents back home. Right now the contact tracing may prove difficult.