Dubai Returnees Protest As Lagos Government Attempts To Test Them For Coronavirus

May 13, 2020
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The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi had a faceoff with Dubai returnees who staged a protest when he attempted to test them for coronavirus at a hotel in Lekki where they are being isolated.

According to Punch, the evacuees questioned the commissioner for telling the press on Tuesday that one of them (returnees) died of COVID-19.

KanyiDaily recalls that during a media briefing on Tuesday, Abayomi had revealed that a 32-year-old Nigerian man who was among those evacuated from Dubai, died of coronavirus infection in Lagos.

When the flight initially landed at the Lagos airport last week Wednesday, the government had said that all the returnees tested negative for COVID-19 before boarding the plane.

Speaking with Punch on Wednesday, the protesting returnees said it was government neglect that led to the death of the 32-year-old man who had surgery in Dubai before being evacuated back to the country.

“The Lagos Health Commissioner came to visit us and we challenged him for saying that one of us died yesterday. What happened was that one of us had surgery in Dubai and he returned in a wheelchair.

“Instead of taking him to a hospital because he was in critical condition, they decided to keep him in the isolation centre with us for two days and his condition got worse. He was then taken to a hospital where he eventually died. But the commissioner told the public that it was Covid-19 that killed him.

“When we challenged the commissioner, he said he was misquoted by the media. We brought out our phones and told him to say it while we record but he refused,” one of the returnees said.

The returnees also lamented the quality of food being given to them, adding that it was unfit for human consumption.

“I cannot feed my dog with this food,” one of them said.

We gathered that tensions heightened when the commissioner announced that the government would be administering a test on all of them.

The enraged evacuees said they would not be tested unless their welfare improved. They subsequently sought to record the commissioner with their phones but he told them not to do so. He eventually hurried into his vehicle and sped off.

“As we were voicing our concerns he ran away! We asked him a simple question! Why we can’t record him if he is sincere? We are being treated like we are in Nazi Germany. At this point we don’t even trust them to test us and give us an accurate result,” he said.

KanyiDaily had reported that the 256 returnees were initially left stranded in Dubai after Paying N242,000 each to the Nigerian Government for evacuation.

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