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Worries Over Spread of Covid-19 in Taraba

.Committee Members Grumble Over Lack of Fund Despite Receiving Millions

Although Taraba State is not recording new cases of Corona Virus, residents are worried over the management of the virus by the state's COVID-19 technical committee led by , Dr Innocent Vakai.

The state  currently has eight  positive COVID-19 cases and has made wearing of face masks compulsory during the two days window period allowed for human and vehicular movement.

Residents who spoke to Taraba Truth and Facts Newspaper noted that the committee might putting the entire state at huge risk if the virus is not properly curtailed, "We don't pray to have a situation like Kano because many preventive measures are being taken for granted by the Committee saddled with the responsibility."

Another Resident said the state does not have an emergency coordinating center, which was one of the mandatory requirements for managing the case.

For instance, residents are worried on how a patient who test positive escaped from the Isolation Center "they  said they have  apprehended the COVID-19 positive patient who last week fled from isolation center in Jalingo but they refused to give details of where and how she was arrested.

"This is a major concern to the public because we are dealing with an invisible enemy here that is easily transmitted. The committee did not tell us if they are tracking those, she made contact with when she was outside the isolation center. How did she leave the center, what means of transportation did she used? Are they disinfecting the place she was arrested all these are begging for answer from the committee."

The absconder by name Talatu Idris is said to have been apprehended and returned to the isolation facility.

Taraba Truth and Facts gathered that the absconder had bribed some police officers at duty with a sum to N1,500 to escape.

Many of those quarantined at the Jalingo Isolation Center and NYSC Camp had earlier complained about the poor condition and treatments from the Covid-19 Technical Committee.

Some said although they were provided with food three times daily, most times the foods were usually not enough to go round, "Sometimes we have to buy our food and drugs ourselves because they were not adequately provided for us," one of those released from the state quarantined center told this newspaper .

He said the reason why those quarantined are escaping is because of poor conditions at the NYSC camp and a highly ignorant and corrupt security agents manning the gate, "the night we were taken there, the place wasn't even cleaned. people kept escaping back to the communities due to poor food and accommodation despite complaining to the committee.

"Inside the Camp we were scared of even contacting the virus because everybody was interacting freely and the officials attending to us were not wearing personal protective equipment, even the police on duty made entry and exist to the camp a free for all once you can part away with cash. I found out that they were not properly briefed on their duty and many of them where are not given daily allowance to come and risk our lives here, they don't wear face mask nor gloves because they were not provided by the government."

 A Human Rights Lawyer Barrister Bilyaminu Lukman Maihanchi had condemned the committee for  withholding over 160 persons at the NYSC Camp with no adequate provision of food supply, in line with the measures taking by the government to rid the state of  Covid19 Pandemic.

He said about  160 persons including vulnerable children were given food stuffs that can't even feed one quarter of their number. "An evening a single Cooler of Yam & Beans was shared. It couldn't even feed those vulnerable children, talk less of those adults. They have to reach out to the outside community to bring foods for them."


Grumblings Over Lack of Fund


Meanwhile some members of the Covid-19 Technical Committee in the state are also grumbling over lack of funds, noting that it has hindered the committee in providing some basic protective items at the quarantined camp and its isolation center.

Although Taraba Truth and Facts gathered that the state government had initially released the sum of 50 million at the takeoff of the committee, several sources at Government House said more than a hundred million has been made available to the committee in the last five weeks.

A member of the committee representing a sector of the society said other members of the committee are not properly carried along in its activity, while they are made to believe that funds have not been released for many activities of the committee.  

"You know the committee is large and is break into sectors, some sectors are not being funded at all, infact the Commissioners and other top government officials in the committee have hijacked it, they solely takes decisions and are the one in charge of finances, if other committee sector request for money, they will say there is no fund on ground. They believe the best the committee should do is take samples for testing and any medical related cases, just like the police taking bribes, if they are being given a daily allowance promptly such act will be minimized, You will be wondering that a committee such important like this and very dear to the Governor is lacking fund," He said.

Another member of the committee said its either the committee is not properly funded or some members of the committee have squandered the money made available by the state government for the committee to achieve its mandate.

"What we are told is that there is no money, even some of us have never received any allowance or money for logistics, its that bad but we are doing our best because it's a service to protect our people from dying."     


It's absolutely  false- Dr Innocent Vakai

However, the State Commissioner for Health and Chairman of the state's COVID-19 technical committee, Dr Innocent Vakai told our reporter that all is well among the committee, saying no internal wangling among its members.

 Vakai said the committee is not a one man show and everyone is being carried along according to his area of expertize, however he  was unable to give the exact amount released to the committee so far.


Speaking on the claims of poor treatment by those quarantined, Dr Vakai said  "these are people that are kept against their will and denied freedom, so you don't expect them to be happy, whatever you do to them they will complain but we have taken note of the lapses and we will corrected them. What I want to tell you is that we did our best in protecting them, they were feed three times daily. On policemen taking bribes I cannot speak on that because the SSG  is  head for the Security committee," Dr Vakai said.

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