Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has accused the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) of spreading falsehood to drive away investors from the state.
Recall that the Federal Government had classified Kogi State “high risk” for COVID-19 because of its failure to report tests or build COVID-19 isolation centres.
Speaking at a media briefing, the PTF incident commander, Muktar Muhammad warned Nigerians to beware of visiting the state.
He said: “We have states where data is not coming forth. If we don’t test, your data will not be analysed and if your data is not analysed, we won’t know the level of the pandemic in your state,” he said.
“Notable among the states that have not been reporting adequately include Yobe, Jigawa, Zamfara and Kebbi and, of course, Kogi that has not been reporting at all.
“States that are not testing are probably at much more higher risk than the states that are currently known as high burdened states.”
But reacting in a statement on Tuesday, the Kogi state Commissioner for Information and Communication, Kingsley Fanwo, noted that the NCDC data was unreliable and inconsistent.
He stated that the Yahaya Bello-led administration believes that the intention of NCDC was to drive away investors from the state.
The Commissioner said: “Despite their unreliable figures, Kogi emerged as the preferred investment destination of Nigeria in the last quarter of 2020. They felt embarrassed and the best way to hit back is to create a picture of health crisis in the state.”
Fanwo claimed that the north-central state was the first to procure face masks in thousands and distributed to all the councils, as well as the first to set up a team to combat the spread of the virus.
“We set up isolation centres with state-of-the-art equipment. We have done sensitisation more than any other state. So if we don’t believe that Covid-19 exists, we won’t be doing all we are doing to ensure it doesn’t ravage our state.
“What we said and still saying is that Covid-19 is not worth all the marketing going on just for a few to make billions; that we do not have to suffer innocent Nigerians while a few smile to the banks,” he said.
Yahaya Bello of Kogi has consistently rubbished the existence of the disease while calling on people not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Addressing supporters, the governor had wondered why scientists have been unable to find a cure or vaccine for cancer and HIV/Aids but are quick to get a vaccine for COVID-19.
The governor does not wear a face mask except when visiting President Muhammadu Buhari.