Ortom says Benue is Prepared to fight COVID-19, establishes treatment centres


Nigerian Concord Newspaper

The governor of Benue state, Dr. Samuel Ortom, today said that his administration is ready to prevent the deadly Coronavirus from entering into the state.

Governor Ortom made this know this afternoon when he led the State Action Committee against Coronavirus to inspect treatment facilities at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital and Federal Medical Centre Apir.

The equipment the governor inspected included ventilators, monitors and beds with the initial capacity of admitting 100 patients (suspected COVID-19 cases) in the two hospitals.

With six functional ventilators – six at FMC and two at BSUTH, Benue is adjudged to be well prepared for the battle against COVID-19, the governor said.

Meanwhile, the state government has announced more preventive measures against the deadly virus.

Part of the measures is a directive that civil servants from levels 1-12 should commence stay-at-home for two weeks, at the first instance.

Also, the Benue State Independent Electoral Commission, BSIEC, has been directed to shift the scheduled local government elections by two weeks.

The measures also includes advice that Benue people should limit gatherings in Churches, Mosques, markets and other public places.

Meanwhile, the State Executive Council also approved additional N50 million naira to the state committee on Coronavirus to enable it intensify the fight against the spread of the deadly disease in the state.

It also announced the establishment of a treatment centre each in Zones A and C parts of the state, in addition to the two centres already set up in Makurdi for treatment and isolation of suspected cases.

Council resolved that the State Deputy Governor, Engineer Benson Abounu should head the State Action Committee on COVID-19 as Chairman, while the former Committee Chairman and Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr. Sunday Ongbabo should be the Secretary.

The Committee was mandated to among other things, make contact with the response team at the national level and the National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, for cross fertilization of ideas and expertise.

Other measures taken by the meeting included tracking of new entrants into Benue State, especially from volatile areas, sensitization of the public on safety and preventive measures as well as self isolation by persons suspected to have contracted the virus.

Council also directed that the State Action Committee should be established at the local government levels for wider coverage while telephone hot-lines should be provided by the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism to enable members of the public report suspected cases or new entrants into the state.

Governor Ortom had earlier charged the State Action Committee on COVID-19 to ensure proper awareness on the disease and to use only trained medical personnel to handle suspected cases.

The Governor gave assurance that his administration would ensure that internally displaced persons living in camps were not left out in the efforts to prevent the virus from getting to the state.

In a related development, Governor Samuel Ortom has appealed to Benue citizens to restrain themselves from taking violence against one another in the name of land disputes.

“If you’re provoked by any means, please find a way to resolve such problem amicably as brothers as we’ve been seen recently,” the governor said passionately.

He made this appeal during the Live phone-in program on the plans by government to curtail the effect of the dreaded Coronavirus, COVID 19 in Benue State.

The governor also made it known that his administration had given priority to the safety of the people of Benue state.

His words: “We have given priority to safety of our people because that is the topmost thing we need to do at this time.

“We have taken proactive steps to ensure that our people are well informed about COVID-19 and we urge the public to avoid spreading false information on the pandemic”.