Imo State has joined the league of states in Nigeria being infected by the spreading coronavirus in the country.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) that reported 87 new confirmed positive cases of the killer virus, and one new death in the country late Saturday night says Imo joined the league as the latest state with reported cases in the last 24 hours.
In Nigeria, 28 out of 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, are already being ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is, however, happening as the Nasarawa State Secretary of the All Progressives Party (APC), Aliyu Bello, is pleading with the Buhari administration to urgently evacuate Nigerians from India following alleged growing fear of molestation by the locals over the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a Save Our Souls (SOS) message to the administration, Bello claims the situation in India may become uncontrollable and life-threatening if something urgent is not done to ferry Nigerians out of the Asian country.
Bello who was in India on a medical trip before the outbreak of coronavirus, says most foreign nationals, especially Nigerians are seen as responsible for the outbreak of the virus in India.
According to the APC chief, the situation in India has made most Nigerians to lock up themselves in their various hotels to guard against stigmatisation as well as prevent them from contracting the virus.
‘’Nigerians have so far taken various precautionary and safety measures. They see you as the one who imported coronavirus to their country, once they sight you, they begin to have a different look at you, we are feeling kind of stigmatised’’, he says.
Continuing, he says having been discharged from the hospital and currently lodged in a hotel for over a month, ‘’the tension and situation are hellish for me and other Nigerians, mostly from Sokoto State that have been held up in the hotel for more than 30 days and still counting.
‘’It is now becoming very difficult to pay our bills because we have outspent ourselves and we are now on the verge of being ejected from the hotel due to lack of funds to settle our bills.
‘’I left Nigeria on March 7, and was supposed to come back on April 6, but was held up because of the outbreak of coronavirus. I had successful surgery in my two legs, the right leg is ninety per cent healed while the left leg is fifty per cent healed.’’
According to him, the Federal Government, through the Nigerian Embassy in India, has assured that they will be evacuated soon but all those affected will be responsible for their flight tickets.
“The embassy contacted us on April 7 demanding for our data pages and return ticket and that they have sent it to Nigeria and waiting for further directives.
“I am, therefore, appealing to the government to evacuate us because the situation is bad in India. We also need urgent assistance so that we pay at least 50% of the cost of the ticket since they want us to pay for the flight ticket.’’
In the meantime, the numbers of confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria are busy racing to the sky. NCDC says as, at 11:55 pm on Saturday, the country recorded 1182 cases and 222 discharged patients.
The 87 new cases, according to NCDC, came from nine states with Lagos still leading the league of COVID-19 states with 33 cases, followed by Borno’s 18 and Osun’s 12.
The others are Katsina nine, Kano and Ekiti four each, Edo and Bauchi three each with Imo on the rear with one case.
In Kaduna State, former Environment Minister, Mrs. Laurentia Laraba Mallam, is leading the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) 15-man appeal fund committee, to seek for financial and material donations from public-spirited individuals, groups and organisations to alleviate the suffering of vulnerable persons under the current lockdown.
SOKAPU President, Jonathan Asake, in a statement says, the lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic has caused severe food shortages, untold hardship, unattended illnesses that may lead to deaths among families and communities, unless there is a timely intervention.
‘’It is against this backdrop that SOKAPU inaugurated a 15-man committee with the mandate of seeking financial assistance and relief materials to cushion the hardship brought about by the current lockdown.
‘’While some good-spirited individuals have started responding, other concerned members of the public have continued to inundate SOKAPU with calls and messages as to where they can channel their donations.’’
The group is, therefore, appealing to donors to send their contributions to Southern Kaduna Peoples Union Account: 1770196060, with Polaris Bank
For food items and other essential commodities: SOKAPU National Secretariat: 1 Stephen Shekari Close, Off Gwari Avenue, Barnawa Kaduna.
Meanwhile, Governor Bala Muhammed of Bauchi State has freed 69 prison inmates in different Correctional Centres across the state in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
The pardon by the governor was approved in the exercise of his powers to grant pardon which was acted upon on Thursday.
Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Correctional Service, Bauchi State Command, Adam Abubakar Jibrin, says the freed inmates were serving jail terms in various facilities across the state.