Coronavirus: Kwara govt bows to pressure, calls for sack of UITH professor after public outcry
- Kwara state government has ordered the immediate sack of a professor of UITH, Alakija Kazeem Salami
- Salami was said to have hidden the status of a case of coronavirus pandemic in the state
- There were calls from people of the state on the government to sack Salami over his conduct
The Kwara state government has ordered the suspension of a doctor at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), Prof Alakija Kazeem Salami, for violating the ethics of the medical profession.
Professor Salami was accused of hiding the status of a suspected case of coronavirus pandemic, who eventually died in the hospital.
Legit.ng's regional reporter, Ibrahim Akinola, reports that before the government's decision, many people across the state have registered their displeasure over the roles allegedly played by a Prof Salami in covering the COVID-19 status of a UK returnee, who was suspected to have contracted the disease.
It was gathered that the suspected case returned to Nigeria from the UK around the middle of March and sneaked to Ilorin, the Kwara state capital.
The information gathered revealed that the professor administered treatment on the patient, adding that when his condition became worsened, he was moved to the UITH by the professor without disclosing his travel history or the nature of his ailments.
The doctor's action, however, put the lives of doctors, nurses and other caregivers at the hospital in serious danger.
Speaking with Legit.ng over the incident, some aggrieved people of the state expressed their dissatisfaction and called for the immediate sacking of the doctor.
In his submission, a lecturer in one of the higher institutions in the state, Dr Lawal, said it beat his imagination that a professor of medicine could become unethical professionally and put other people's lives in danger.
He said: "It actually beats my imagination that a whole professor of medicine can be that unethical under whatever guise. Is he not supposed to be in the best position to know that he is endangering the lives of millions of people? Why didn't he communicate or refer the case to the state set up a technical committee on COVID-19?
"I actually suspect the government complicit in this case, perhaps the case is a very important and influential personality. If not, the government should as a matter of urgency, suspend the prof and all his accomplices, do a proper and thorough investigation and deal with anyone found culpable in accordance with the laws."
A resident of Offa who spoke to Legit.ng on condition of anonymity said the deceased was bathed according to Islamic rite before he was buried, adding the lives of those who took part in the ritual bath were also exposed to the danger of coronavirus.
"We are truly in the deep ocean. This is very selfish and unpatriotic of both the professor and his late patient. Do you know that the man's wife has tested positive for COVID-19? Do you know that the man's corpse was released for a funeral?
"Do you know that he was bathed according to Islamic rites by some people? Do you know the number of people that touched or carried his corpse? Do you know he was prayed for? Can you imagine the number of people that came to his house to sympathise with the wife?
"How can we trace all these contacts? Wallahi, we are in serious danger and deep shit. In fact, this so-called professor should face the wrath of the law," he said.
It was learnt that the deceased's corpse was released for his family despite the government directive not to do so until the samples were taken from the body for postmortem.
His remains were allegedly hurriedly released, taken to Offa township and interred according to Islamic rites.
A resident of Ilorin, who was simply identified as Mrs Lateefa said: "The government should deal decisively with all the people found wanting, in this case, to serve as a deterrent to others.
She said: "I don't know what is wrong with these so-called influential or rich people and many of our reckless leaders. Rather than invest and work on the proper functionality of our various rotten systems, they choose foreign lands for medicals.
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Reacting to the public outcry, the governor of the state, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, on Monday, April 6, confirmed that the state recorded two confirmed COVID-19 cases including the widow of the late suspected case.
The government, however, refuted the claim of any complicity in the case, expressing disappointment in what it called disregard for protocol, ethics and breach of trust in the UITH incident.
He said: "We demand the immediate suspension of Professor Alakija Kazeem Salami and every other official of UITH whose professional misconduct brought us down this path pending further investigation, even as we step up our efforts to contain the virus."
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that the Nigerian military provided three additional facilities for isolation and treatment of patients who tested positive for coronavirus.
It was reported that this was announced by the coordinator, Defence media operations, Major-General John Enenche, on Wednesday, April 8.
The hospitals are the Nigerian Navy Hospital Warri, the Nigerian Navy Medical Centre Borokiri Port Harcourt and Nigeria Navy Logistics School Medical Centre, Owerrinta, bringing the total to 21 centres.
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