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A few minutes ago, I received a press statement allegedly signed by the CPS to the governor of Kwara state, Malam Rafiu Ajakaye via my WhatsApp. Initially, I was skeptical about it’s credibility and almost discredited it. We live in an age of fake news where one needs to doublecheck on his sources before accepting any information as true.

So, I immediately forwarded the message to the CPS who confirmed it to me as true. I felt cold. Earlier today, I read the report of fast rising investigative journalist, Fisayo Soyombo about how authorities at UITH tried to conceal a suspected COVID-19 case using executive privileges, whole endangering the lives of young doctors and nurses who attended to the said case.

Soyombo’s report was detailed and indicting. He chronicled with precision how the managing professor, a friend of the deceased concealed the latter’s travel history from the medical team that attended to him after his failed attempt to manage him privately.

Soyombo equally chronicled how the deceased enjoyed preferential treatment which has now put the lives of over 20 medical staff in jeopardy. In fact, in its official brief released to the media, the management of UITH described the professor’s attitude as HIGHLY UNETHICAL.

The most unfortunate part of this whole scenario is the fact that the corpse of the suspected COVID-19 case was released immediately to the professor for burial according to the rites of Islām. Muslim faithful that volunteered to wash the corpse touched the body with barehands without taking any preventive measure.

His wife, the bereaved who has now tested positive to COVID-19 would have received condolence visits by tens of sympathisers who would have come in close contact with her and may equally have infected others unknowingly. In short, our contact tracing must now be extended to hundreds of people within the state.

That wicked professor must be prosecuted for unprofessional conduct and recklessness. This is the height of wickedness by a supposed intellectual who should actually know better. It’s an unpardonable crime and the state government must make a bold statement on this issue.

COVID-19 isn’t a death sentence. We have seen a huge number of people recover from it. Abba Kyari, Seyi Makinde and the over 20 patients discharged from the Lagos isolation center as well as others across the world are a great testimony that we have the capacity to beat this virus.

Why then would any sane individual, let alone a professor of medicine play ludo with people’s lives? Governors El-rufai, Bala Muhammad and Seyi Makinde of Kaduna, Bauchi and Oyo states respectively all made their cases public. Were the professor and his now late friend scared of stigmatisation? Or were they deliberately wicked and devilish?

Corona Virus is a viral disease that can be contracted through mere touching an ‘infected’ surface. It is not a sexually transmitted disease that one may be shy to disclose, which makes the reckless conduct of the professor unforgivable and criminal. The Technical Committee set up by the state government is working very hard and round the clock, but this unpardonable recklessness by the wicked professor may rubbish everything the committee has laboured so hard to achieve.

It is my sincere hope that we have not stepped on a landmine just yet. People need to take this stay at home policy so seriously and those who might have been exposed to the virus should embark on self isolation immediately. Those that washed the corpse, those that carried the bier, those that paid condolence visits to the wife and relatives that attended to the deceased, the professor and his family, medical staff of UITH A&E unit, etc…

We can beat this virus. We will beat it. In shā Allāh.

Sanusi Lafiagi

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