The Thursday death in Ilorin of a Chartered Accountant, Alhaji Muideen Obanimomo remains enmeshed in controversy despite strenuous effort by the Kwara State government to manage the uproar.
There are fears in some quarters in the state that Obanimomo may have died of COVID-19.
The suspicion is fueled by a directive by the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital branch of the Association of Residents Doctors (ARD) to its members who attended to the deceased while undergoing treatment to proceed on self-isolation immediately.
But the state government insists that there is no proof whatsoever that the man was killed by coronavirus.
Alhaji ObanimomÍ had travelled to the United Kingdom to attend his daughter’s graduation.
He recently returned to Nigeria.
He was said to have gone into self-isolation immediately after feeling unwell.
His condition appeared to have degenerated and he was rushed to the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital on Wednesday only to die on Thursday.
He was immediately buried in his Offa, Kwara State hometown according to Islamic rites.
Shortly afterwards, the public relations officer of the Association of Residents Doctors UITH, Dr. Ojuawo Ayobola, issued a statement saying: “The Executives are aware of a possible/ suspected case of COVID-19 that was admitted at the Accident and Emergency unit of the hospital on the 1st of April and died on the 2nd of April, 2020.
“While we await the results of the investigations aimed at establishing the diagnosis, all exposed members during the management of this patient have started self-isolation and are currently being given all the necessary support by the ARD executives and the Epidemiology department.”
A similar statement was issued by the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) UITH Chapter said: “A patient with symptoms of food poisoning who was said to have been on self-isolation for 13 days following his return from the UK (hence, suspected case of COVID-19) was admitted yesterday and died at the Medical Emergency ward today, Thursday 2nd April, 2020.
“In the spirit of pro activeness by the management of the hospital, the Medical Emergency has been shut down and the process of fumigation has been initiated.
“Close contacts of the patient (doctors and nurses that attended to him and his family members) have started self-isolation while we await possible confirmation of COVID-19.”
The two statements sent tongues wagging across the state.
Many sought confirmation from the state government.
Response from government was not long in coming.
Mr. Rafiu Ajakaye, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor who doubles as the spokesman of the Technical Committee on COVID-19 vehemently denied that Obanimomo died of COVID-19.
He said: “The Kwara State Technical Committee on COVID-19 wishes to clarify that the state has not recorded any confirmed case of COVID-19. As of now, all the six samples tested from Kwara State have returned negative.
“The committee states that there is no fact, at this moment, to support suggestions that a male patient who died on Wednesday night at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital was a COVID-19 patient.
“Findings by the medical advisory subcommittee revealed that the patient and his wife arrived from the United Kingdom, reportedly came to Ilorin on 20th March, 2020, and went into self-quarantine without reaching out to the government or the technical committee. On the 13th day of the self-quarantine, the husband suddenly had difficulties breathing after reportedly eating dinner and was rushed to the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital. Efforts to resuscitate him proved abortive and he was pronounced dead.
“The deceased, a Muslim, was promptly taken to Offa, his hometown, where he was interned on Thursday. Owing to the travel history of the deceased, all the medics who attended to him at the UITH have gone into self-quarantine. Similarly, family members who have had contact with the deceased and his wife have been directed to do same. For abundance of caution, samples have been taken from his wife and four others and results are expected in the coming days.
“The committee hereby repeats that there is no record that the UITH patient ever tested positive for the virus.”
A source close to the family claimed that the deceased first went into self-isolation in Lagos, but on the third day he was advised by one of his doctor friends to come to Ilorin ahead of the lockdown.
On getting to Ilorin, the doctor friend allegedly began to treat him.
When his condition failed to show any sign of improvement, he was rushed to UITH where he was placed in the emergency unit.
Apart from the doctors who attended to him, there are also fears about those who washed and prepared the corpse for burial.
A source at the UITH who does not want his name in print said: “it is not true that the man died of COVID-19. But I cannot speak with you on phone. If you want official position of the institution please come to UITH on Monday.”
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