New Telegraph

Panic as Ortom’s wife, son, SSG, CoS, HoS, others test positive for COVID-19

Makurdi Palpable fear and panic gripped the Benue State Government House Saturday after it emerged that the wife of the Governor, Mrs. Eunice Erdoo Ortom, her son, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof. Tony Ijohor, the Chief of Staff (CoS), Mr. Terwase Orbunde and the state’s Head of Service (HoS), Mrs. Veronica Onyeke and some other staff have all tested positive for COVID-19.


The governor’s wife’s COVID-19 status came days after widespread reports that the governor himself had tested positive for the disease and had stopped making public appearances. But Ortom, on Wednesday, presided over the state’s Executive Council meeting where he announced the partial reopening of schools for primary Six, JSS3 and SS3 classes.


This is just as his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Terver Akase, swiftly dispelled the allegation against the governor as untrue.


But barely three days after, wife of the governor, in a statement she personally signed and sent to New Telegraph by her Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Shimataver Aondoakaa, said when result from her tests carried out by medical experts from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) returned positive, she immediately went into total isolation as required by the protocols and has begun treatment. Meanwhile, Governor Ortom has disclosed that the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof. Tony Ijohor, the Chief of Staff (CoS), Mr. Terwase Orbunde and the state’s Head of Service (HoS), Mrs. Veronica Onyeke have tested positive for COVID-19.


The governor also confirmed that the Vice Chairman of COVID-19 in the state, Dr. Achinge who doubles as the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics at the Benue State University, Makurdi, Prof. Achinge and many cooks among several others have equally tested positive for the disease. Ortom disclosed this while giving an update on the Coronavirus pandemic as 32 fresh cases were reported by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in the state.


The governor, who displayed the result of the second test conducted on him which shows he tested negative, promised that the Action Committee on COVID-19 would meet this week to review the partial lockdown with a view to shutting down worship centres, schools and markets.


“I want to also inform you that the other members of the State‘s Executive Council, advisers, government appointees, permanent secretaries are not free. Even the Head of Service is positive, the SSG is positive, the Chief of Staff is positive, the Vice chairman of COVID-19, Prof. Achinge is positive so you can see the danger that we are in,” he said. He said medical experts have advised him to proceed on self-isolation to collect his samples in the next four days for the third round of testing to ascertain his status. The governor said the Action Committee on COVID- 19 would meet this week and consider the need to close down worship centres, markets as part of measures to stop the spread of the disease.


“By early this week, the COVID-19 team will meet and review the situation and take drastic measures to stem the spread of the disease. “If they recommend that we should close down markets, stop the resumption of schools, close down worship centres and revert back, we will do so,” he added. The governor announced that the restriction of movement imposed on the state from 10pm to 4am remains intact.

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