Protesting coronavirus patients take over highway in Gombe, decry ‘poor treatment’


There was confusion Tuesday in Kwadon community of Gombe State, as COVID-19 patients at an isolation centre in Yamaltu Deba Local Government Area forced their way out of the facility to protest alleged poor treatment by the state government and the coronavirus taskforce.

PREMIUM TIMES learned that nearly 20 patients took over the federal highway linking Gombe State with biuneigbouring Borno State.

The patients said they were not properly cared for, and that their conditions had worsened and they prefer to get outside for self-medication and proper care.

A witness at the protest told PREMIUM TIMES “we in the community have been in serious shock knowing how dangerous this disease is.”

“Government should do the needful before it gets out of hand because the patients we saw today are really angry and we don’t know what could happen next,” he said declining to give a name.

“They were chanting that the state government lied against their status while some were saying they were fine. This is serious.”

Commenting on the protest, the Commissioner of Information and Culture, Alhassan Ibrahim Kwami, said the patients protested because they “misunderstood” their coronavirus status.

He said all the patients at the Isolation centre were asymptomatic, so there was no need to give them any drug.

He said they did not know “that they are asymptomatic and there is no way anybody can be giving drug without showing any symptoms”.

He also said the protesters demonstrated because one of the patients has an ailment which they were not comfortable sharing a bathroom with.

He urged the patients to be calm while assuring them that the task force would do everything possible to address their grievances.

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