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COVID-19: Kogi government threatens legal action against PTF, NCDC for declaring ‘high risk’ State

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Kogi State government has found it difficult to come to terms with the declaration of the State a high risk by the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 and.the National Centre for.Disease Control, NCDC where Nigerians were warned not to visit State.

The State government on Tues­day described the statement as creating panic, saying, it would not watch and allow the Presidential Task Force to scare away investors.

The State government alledged that there been attemlts to demarket Kogi State by PTG and NCDC on account of its stance on COVID-19, noting any further harassment by these agencies of government would lead to to legal action.

It also said reports that Governor Yahaya Bello was doing nothing about fighting COVID-19 because it believed it didn’t exist were false.

Kingsley Fanwo, the Kogi State Commissioner for Infor­mation and Communications, who disclosed this to Daily In­dependent, said the PTF – in concert with the NCDC – were desperate to create a picture of health crisis in the state.

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The PTF had on Monday declared Kogi State a ‘high risk state’ for allegedly re­fusing to acknowledge the existence of COVID-19, not reporting testing, and not having isolation centres. It also warned Nigerians to be wary of visiting the state.

But speaking with Daily Independent, Fanwo said the statement by the PTF was an attack on the people of Kogi State by attempting to infect the state with fear, a situation which, he said, the govern­ment would not accept.

He said having emerged the investment destination in Nigeria in the third quarter of 2020, based on the report by the Nigerian Investment Pro­motion Commission (NIPC), the PTF was desperate to crip­ple the economy of Kogi State by raising false alarm that it had a high risk of COVID-19 cases.

“We very much believe their intent was to ensure in­vestors are scared from com­ing to the state.

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“Despite their unreliable figures, Kogi emerged the 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.”

On efforts being made by the state government to fight the disease, Fanwo said Kogi State was the first to procure thousands of face masks which it distributed free of charge to residents of the state.

He also said Kogi State had done more sensitisation on the disease more than any other state across the country.

“We will not hesitate to seek legal redress against them. Kogi is safe. Investors are coming in. We are improv­ing our infrastructure and do­ing more for the people.

“What we won’t do is to join hands with them to push our people into pain and poverty. Enough is enough. We should stop punishing the poor and defenceless unnecessarily.

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“Governor Yahaya Bello will not change his position on this. Why must you change from the lane of truth and in­tegrity?

“They are the people bat­tling with their conscience. They should know that pov­erty is dangerous.

“They should desist from oppressing the people of this country. They should stop de­stroying the good intentions of Mr. President.

“Anyone can aspire to be vice president, but we must not use our position to mis­represent facts and de-market our nation.

“Kogi dey kampe and un­moved by their reckless, ir­responsible, and unscientific claims. Nigerians do not be­lieve the NCDC anymore.

“They have closed feed back avenue on their Twitter. They are afraid of the truth.

“The samples they col­lected from Kogi, where are they? They are deceiving this nation. We won’t join that, even in the face of threat and intimidation,” the commis­sioner said.

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