From: Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
Normal official activities at the Benue State Government House in Makurdi as well as the State Secretariat have been grounded as government officials and others doing menial jobs have deserted them.
This comes on the heels of the rising cases of the Coronavirus COVID-19 that has hit the state leaving as the figure is put at 121 cases as reported by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
Peoplesdaily observed that since the wife of the state governor, Mrs. Eunice Erdoo Ortom, her son, cooks and other domestic staff of the governor tested positive to the disease, there has been palpable fears as normal official activities have taken a slow pace with all those affected as well as the Governor himself have gone into self isolation as a compulsory measure to minimize the spread of the disease.
When our correspondent visited government house yesterday, he observed that many staff, security men and cleaners among others absconded from work for fear of contracting Coronavirus.
It should be noted that prominent government officials including, the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Prof. Tony Ijohor, the Chief of Staff to the Governor, COS, Mr. Terwase Orbunde and the state’s Head of Service , HOS, Mrs. Veronica Onyeke and Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Msugh Kembe among others had tested positive to Coronvirus.
This is even as the Deputy Vice Chancellor Administration, Benue State University, Makurdi who doubled as Vice Chairman of COVID-19 committee in the state, Prof. Godwin Achinge died of the disease last week
It was also, observed that the practice is the same at the State Secretariat which houses most of the ministries as workers have limited access to work.
Reacting to this development, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Samuel Ortom Terver Akase denied the claims that government activities has been grounded
According to him, ‘the governor is still functioning and attending to the business of governance. He holds vitual meetings with his commissioners.
“Those who have been affected by COVID- 19 as the governor announced recently, non of them is incapacitated but they have all gone into Isolation as protocol demands. Even though they are not going to their offices, that does not in any way mean that activities of government are grounded”, Akase said.