Activities in Benue State Government House, Makurdi, now suffers setback as top government officials have been diagnosed with the dreaded coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The Guardian gathered that even the junior workers seem to be afraid of going about their normal duties and most times prefer to stay away from work. As at the last count, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has recorded not less than 121 cases of COVID-19 in Benue.
Also, since the governor’s wife, Mrs. Eunice Ortom; her son, cooks and other domestic staff were reported to have contracted the disease, the governor himself (though still free of the virus) has gone into isolation as a way of curtailing the spread of the disease.
On a visit to the government house yesterday, The Guardian observed that many staff, including security men and cleaners, absconded from work, ostensibly for fear of contracting the disease.
Those that have contracted the disease and are receiving treatment at different isolation centres include the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof. Tony Ijohor; the Chief of Staff (CoS), Mr. Terwase Orbunde; the Head of Service (HoS), Mrs. Veronica Onyeke; Vice-Chancellor of Benue State University (BSU), Makurdi, Prof. Msugh Kembe; and the Pro-chancellor of BSU, Prof. Zachary Gundu.
Sadly, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration) of BSU, who doubles as Vice Chairman of COVID-19 Committee in the state, Prof. Godwin Achinge, died of the disease. But the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Terver Akase, said the development did not mean that the government was grounded, adding that the governor was still working, as most activities were carried out virtually.
According to Akase, when there are things that need the governor’s attention, it can be done computationally; people can stay in their offices and use their platform to Zoom other platforms to hold meetings, just as it is happening in Abuja.
“The governor is still attending to the business of governance. None of those affected, as the governor announced, is incapacitated; but they have all gone into isolation as protocol demands,” he stressed.