Prof Msugh Kembe, Vice Chancellor of the Benue State University, Makurdi has confirmed his Covid-19 positive status. In a text message to that effect, the academic says his test for the virus came out positive on Monday, June 29th, 2020.
Confirmation of the news of the Vice-Chancellor and several academic colleagues testing positive and being treated has significance in what it points at: that more people than is admitted might have been infected and community spread might not be long in coming in an environment where the reality of the pandemic has been barely acknowledged and where life has basically gone on as if Covid-19 is a hoax.
It is thus a worrisome development for everybody, more so that, unlike Lagos and Kano with advantages of media concentration, it could be late in the day before catastrophe in the area gets media attention and, by implication, federal and global intervention.
It is still not clear if a contingency plan is in place and if any extra-ordinary measures are being contemplated or what Covid-19 intelligence the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, (NCDC) and the Benue State Government are working with. It is possible though very unlikely the government has any strong Covid-19 intelligence and a contingency plan but only time might tell.
The VC who revealed that he is now in self isolation since finding out his possible exposure to the virus spoke of how he had fever and body fatigue the previous week.
“I am of course managing the illness now”, he said in the text which is also widely in circulation and in which he is expressing appreciation to the Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom as well as the State taskforce on Covid-19 headed by the Deputy-Governor, Engineer Benson Abounu for what he calls their timely support to ensure he got required medical attention.
He is urging staff of the Benue State University and close associates to check themselves, isolate and be pragmatic, saying that the virus doesn’t move but “we move it. Take responsibility”
This confirmation is coming after series of start and stop about it. The university whose students, like those of all other Nigerian universities, are on Covid-19/ASUU forced holidays was formally shut a few days ago when rumours of widespread infection among top hats of the university took over the state. shortly, however, the university said it only shut down to enable fumigation of several key offices.