An award-winning investigative journalist, Fisayo Soyombo,has raised the alarm over an alleged attempt by the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to cover up the death and immediate burial of a suspected Coronavirus patient.
His comments came amid public outrage on the suspicious conduct of a senior medical practitioner, who was said to have asked the patient to come out of self-isolation in Lagos to his place in Ilorin and tried to treat him.
He allegedly later transferred the patient to UITH where he died.
The said senior medical practitioner then hurriedly arranged his burial without allowing his samples to be taken for analysis.
Drilling down into the matter, Soyombo said there was palpable evidence to show that the matter was being hidden from public view.
The journalist, who has won global acclaim for big investigative stories, said he got his information from some staff members of the teaching hospital.
His tweets read: “On Thursday, there was a COVID-19 death in Ilorin. But it won’t make it to @NCDCgov’s official count because the powers that be did everything to cover it up.
The bigwigs at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) knew. The state govt did, too.
A grand cover-up.
“After his death, they ensured the body wasn’t tested for the virus. The deceased was buried on Fri without scientific confirmation of COVID-19, but two hospital staff have been giving me deatils of events that led to his death.
You know why? They, like others, feel unsafe.
“After returning from the UK, the deceased initially self-isolated in Lagos, before his professor-of-medicine-friend invited him to Ilorin, where he privately received treatment.
On Day 13, his condition worsened. so he was taken to UITH.
“He was to be moved to the isolation ward bt there was an “order from above” for him to remain at the A&E.
Until he started showing severe COVID-19 symptoms, the docs who attended to him didn’t know it was the virus; this was a patient of their bosses.
He died shortly after.
“Meanwhile, he’d had contact with docs, nurses and other patients.
The state govt & the hospital both rejected this as a COVID-19 case.
The state govt claims the death was due to “respiratory illness” while the hospital says it was from “food poisoning”.
However: 1. The ambulance that evacuated the corpse was not allowed back into the hospital premises.
2. Docs, nurses & pharmacists who potentially had contact with him are now on chloroquine prophylaxis & isolation.
3. The Medical Emergency has been shut down & fumigation initiated
“Two professors of medicine — the one who housed the diseased & the one who pulled the strings to halt his transfer to the isolation ward — betrayed their colleagues.
This potential COVID spread in UITH was preventable.
May ‘man know man’ not kill us in this country!”
There was no response from either the hospital or NCDC.
However, the COVID-19 Kwara Technical Committee reacted to his findings by saying the matter was being Investigation.
The committee corroborated claims that the dead patient’s samples were not taken.
In two tweets, the committee said: “An update on the suspected case of #COVIDー19 patient that died at UITH and buried in Offa:
In order not to take chances, samples have been collected from his wife, 4 other persons that had close contact with him. The samples were sent to Ibadan yesterday for confirmation.
“Hopefully we will get the results tomorrow. More than 60 contacts have been traced already. Our team have gone out to take more samples from his children and guards.
Please, let’s stop misinforming people..”