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  • Updated: March 01, 2021

Chronicles Of COVID-19 In Nigeria, A Year After Index Case

Chronicles Of COVID-19 In Nigeria, A Year After Index Case

The 27th of February 2020, was when the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Nigeria ever since the beginning of the outbreak in Wuhan, China in January 2020. 

Wuhan located within the Hubei Province of China seemed like a far distance from Nigeria even though it was already raging in different countries of the world. The World Health Organisation (WHO) on March 11, 2020, declare the disease a pandemic.

The declaration was at a news briefing, WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, noted that over the past previous two weeks, the number of cases outside China increased 13-fold and the number of countries with cases increased threefold. Further increases are expected. He said that the WHO is "deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction," and he called on countries to take action now to contain the virus. "We should double down," he said.

Nigeria’s index case was an Italian who worked within the country but returned from Milan, Italy to Lagos, Nigeria on the 25th of February 2020.

READ ALSO: An Exclusive Timeline Video Of The Coronavirus (COVID-19) In Nigeria 

He was two days later confirmed by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital and was admitted at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba, Lagos.

The Government of Nigeria, through the Federal Ministry of Health, began strengthening measures to ensure an outbreak in Nigeria is controlled and contained quickly. The multi-sectoral Coronavirus Preparedness Group led by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has immediately activated its National Emergency Operations Centre and will work closely with Lagos State Health authorities to respond to this case and implement firm control measures.

On March  9, 2020, the second case was confirmed, a Nigerian citizen in Ewekoro, Ogun State who had contact with the Italian citizen got infected. On 13 March, Nigeria confirmed that the second case no longer had the virus in his system and thus tested negative.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Abiru Donates Facemasks To Lagos Teachers, Pupils

At the end of March 2020, Nigeria had a total of 131 COVID-19 cases and two death. 

Days, weeks, months passed and by January 2021, COVID-19 cases in Nigeria had reached a milestone of over 100,000 confirmed cases and a death toll of over a thousand and the number of recovered cases was 104,989

However, AllNews Nigeria reports that as of February 28, 2021, a total of 240 new confirmed cases and two deaths were recorded in Nigeria. Throughout the country, a total of 155,657 confirmed cases have been confirmed since the index case, 133,768 have recovered and have been discharged, while 1,907 have lost their lives due to the complication of the viral disease.


A multi-sectoral National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), activated at Level 3 operations continues to coordinate the national response activities.

Also, due to the rise in COVID-19 cases, President Muhammadu Buhari on March 9 established a Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 to coordinate and oversee COVID-19 case update.

Notable Nigerian That Died Of COVID-19

AllNews Nigeria captured some prominent Nigerian who dies as a result of COVID-19 complications. 

Abba Kyari  (April 17)

On April 18, President Muhammadu Buhari announced that his chief of staff, Abba Kyari, died from COVID-19 on the previous day. Kyari had played the central, technocratic role in the functioning of the office of the presidency.

Kyari died after a month-long long struggle with COVID-19. Credible speculation is that he contracted the disease during a trip to Germany. At sixty-seven, he appeared healthy, and during the early stages of his hospitalization, he was reported to be cheerful and optimistic.  

Professor Ebere Onwudiwe (January 9,)

Onwudiwe, a professor of Political Science in the Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio, was said to have died of COVID-19 complications. He was a renowned economist, political scientist, prolific writer, promoter of Afro-optimism and respected public intellectual.
He was born on October 10, 1952, and hailed from Isunjaba in Imo State, where he held the traditional title of Mba 1.

Apart from having a doctorate degree in Political Science, he also acquired postgraduate degrees in Economics and International Relations. He held several local and international positions. In Ohio. He also became a director of the Centre for African Studies and the executive director of the Centre for International Studies.

 Prince Bolu Akin-Olugbade (January 13)

The late Prince Bolu Akin-Olugbade held the traditional title of the Aare Ona-Kankanfo of Owu Kingdom. He was a lawyer and businessman, whose interest included property development, construction, manufacturing, logistics, distribution, maritime and offshore services and investment banking.

Prince Akin-Olugbade was called Mr Rolls Royce because he was one of the world’s largest collectors of Rolls Royce automobiles.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, he was held up in the United States of America as international flights were grounded globally to curtail the spread of the virus. He returned to the country late last year. Despite taking several precautions, he eventually caught the virus and died at Paelon Hospital in Ikeja, Lagos, on January 13.

 Dauda Birma (January 5)

Alhaji Birma, a former minister of education, was a presidential aspirant on the platform of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). He died in the early hours of Tuesday, January 5, 2021, at his home in the Adamawa State capital, Yola.

The Sarkin Gabas Adamawa and Waziri of Garkida was said to have been fairly well before his death.

Born in 1940 in Garkida, Gombi Local Government Area of Adamawa State, Birma served in various capacities in the then government of the Northern Region. He had marked his 80th birthday in July last year.

Folake Aremu (January 3)

On January 3, the Nigerian film industry lost another veteran Yoruba actress, Folake Aremu, popularly known as Orisabunmi. She died at the age of 60.

The Kwara-born actress died four months after the death of her ex-husband, Jimoh Aliu, who was popularly known as Aworo.

In the 1980s, she was well known for her roles as a priestess, pacifist, or the good witch in movies. She played some iconic roles like ‘Asabi’ in “Oluwerimagboojo” and the priestess in “Ayanmo Eda.’’

 Professor Duro Ajeyalemi (January 6)

The late Professor Duro Ajeyalemi of the Lagos State University, who retired at the age of 70 in November 2020, was a dean of the institution’s Faculty of Education and the pioneer registrar of the Joint Universities Preliminary Examination Board (JUPEB).

He was said to have died at the COVID-19 isolation centre at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba.

He was the third prominent indigene of Ijesha land in Osun East senatorial district that succumbed to the deadly disease in recent times.

Gambo Jimeta (January 21)

Muhammadu Gambo Jimeta, a former Inspector-General of Police (IGP), was promoted to the rank of Assistant Inspector-General (AIG) in 1982 and transferred to the Force Criminal Investigation Division, Alagbon Close, Lagos. He became a Deputy Inspector-General (DIG) in 1984. He succeeded Etim Inyang as IGP in 1986 and was succeeded by Aliyu Attah in 1990.

He was also a national security adviser to a former military head of state, Ibrahim Babangida. Former President Goodluck Jonathan also appointed Jimeta as a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the prerogative of mercy.

Justice Abdulkadir Orire (January 26)

Abdulkadir Orire, former Grand Khadi of Kwara State, was born in 1934 at Obaninsunwa in Ilorin. He was the pioneer and longest-serving Grand Khadi of the Kwara State Sharia Court of Appeal, between 1975 and 1999.

He was conferred with the national honour of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) and also held the Ilorin honorary chieftaincy titles of Sarki Malami and Marafa.

He was instrumental in the establishment of what is today known as the University of Ilorin. He was the secretary of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) in Kaduna during the Zangon Kataf crisis and a member of the 1999 Constitution Review Committee.

 Dr Abba Tor Masta II, Shehu of Dikwa (January 23)

The Shehu of Dikwa in Borno State, His Royal Highness, Dr Abba Tor Masta II, died in the early hours of Saturday, January 23, following an undisclosed ailment.  He was the second in position after the Shehu of Borno.

Alhaji Abba started his early education at Bama central and senior primary schools from 1952 to 1958. He proceeded to Teachers’ College, Mubi from 1959 to 1962, where he obtained a grade three teachers’ certificate.

COVID-19 Survivours Include:

Although majority did not survive the death of COVID-19, however, some of those that recovered after weeks of health struggle include, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State amongst others.

Imposing Curfews, Lockdowns, And Guidelines To Curb Spread

Despite some recovered from the deadly virus, the COVID-19 infection didn't reduce but got worse. This led to some state governors imposing partial lockdowns on religious centers, Owambe Saturdays, and Social gatherings to curtail the wild spread of the disease.

COVID-19 Lockdown

Some of the guidelines Nigerians were advised to adhere to are the use of a face mask, regular washing and sanitizing of hands, physical distancing in public places.

Many Nigerian to date ignore these non-pharmaceutical guidelines even in the midst of the second wave of the pandemic. Although President Muhammadu Buhari has signed a COVID-19 law, enforcement is yet to be achieved.

Recently, a correspondent of AllNews Nigeria came across a Nigerian who sells face-mask, during a recorded conversation, she stated that she doesn't believe COVID-19 exists. Says it is only a means for the Nigerian government to get funds.

Watch Video Below;

Arrival Of COVID-19 Vaccine

After shifting the goal post from January ending to late February and then March, the Federal Government says it will take delivery of 3.92 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine tomorrow, March 2.

AllNews Nigeria recalls that at the beginning of February, the National Primary Health Care Development (NPHCDA) had stated that Nigeria would receive 16 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines before the end of February, which would replace the initial 100,000 doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech approved vaccines expected in the country.

However, NPHCDA, World Health Organisation (WHO), and United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) in a joint statement, yesterday February 28th, 2021, said March 1 delivery would mark the first arrival of COVID-19 vaccine in the country and make Nigeria the next West African country to benefit from the COVAX Facility after Ghana, and Cote d’Ivoire.

According to the statement, the arrival of the vaccine will enable the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to commence the vaccination of Nigerians in priority groups, starting with the frontline healthcare workers.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Is Sheikh Bilal Philips Dead? (ICYMI)

Executive Director and Chief Executive of the NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, said the arrival of this vaccine followed the commitment of the Federal Government through the guidance of the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire.

He said: “We are fully prepared to receive and deliver the vaccine to eligible Nigerians as we have commenced the training of health workers and ensured that cold chain facilities are ready at all levels. We have a robust cold chain system that can store all types of COVID-19 vaccine in accordance with the required temperature. We are therefore confident we will have a very effective rollout of the vaccine, starting with our critical healthcare workers, who are in the frontline in providing the care we all need.”

He disclosed plans to vaccinate no fewer than 70 per cent of eligible Nigerians aged 18 years and above in four phases within two years.

The delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccine is part of an overall 16 million doses planned to be delivered to Nigeria in batches over the next months by the COVAX Facility, as part of an unprecedented global effort to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

The COVAX Facility is co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, WHO and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), with UNICEF as a key implementing partner.

UNICEF Nigeria Country Representative, Peter Hawkins, said: “The COVAX Facility, has worked exceptionally hard to ensure Nigeria gets the vaccine as soon as possible so it can start its vaccination program to the largest population in Africa.”

According to WHO Representative in Nigeria, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo, vaccines are critical in the battle against COVID-19. He urged Nigerians to continue in their effort at containing the virus, as the vaccination program would take at least a year before it would be fully effective.

President, National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Dr. Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, told The Guardian yesterday that Nigeria was expecting a 20 per cent vaccine donation, adding that she would have to buy about 50 percent to achieve immunity.

On the fear of vaccine apathy and hesitancy in the country as a result of the delay, Okhuaihesuyi said: “The slight delay in vaccine procurement may result in apathy. But with good publicity and continuous advocacy on the need to be vaccinated, the apathy can hopefully resolve.”

A consultant pharmacist and former President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Olumide Akintayo, told The Guardian that Nigeria was destined to fail in the health sector because of low investments in Research and Development (R&D) with regards to drugs and vaccines.

“While the rest of the world is making progress by tapping into optimal competences of citizens in all its sectors, successive governments in Nigeria make the health sector a theatre of the absurd by imposing experts in failure on the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH),” he claimed.

Another consultant pharmacist and Medical Director, Merit Healthcare, Dr. Lolu Ojo, said he would not be surprised if the country failed to get the vaccines because of the tardiness the country is known for.

“Our development strides have been a shame in the comity of nations. We all know and are ashamed of it. It is only government officials that are not ashamed. The purpose of governance has been turned upside-down. We need people of vision, integrity, capability and wisdom to run this nation.”

A virologist, vaccinologist, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Innovative Vaccines Limited, Abuja, and lead COVID-19 vaccine task team of the African Vaccine Manufacturing Initiative, Dr. Simon Agwale, said the main reason Nigeria had not received the COVID-19 vaccines pledged by the COVAX facility was because of the current global vaccine shortages.

He, however, said it was unfortunate that despite the difficulties in accessing COVID-19 vaccines and the emergence of variants, Nigeria was still not planning local vaccine development and manufacturing.

He described Nigeria as one of the few countries in Africa blessed with experts that could develop vaccines if only the government could provide the required funding.

A public health physician and Executive Secretary, Enugu State Agency for the Control of AIDS (ENSACA), Dr. Chinedu Idoko, said: “These things could sometimes be difficult and not come easily and exactly as expected. I believe the processes of having these vaccines on the ground are steady work in progress and have not been abandoned.

“Sustained logistics are needed to have the vaccine available to Nigerians. There may be a need for adjustments and further demands here and there and this is what we’re experiencing.”

However, the question remains, when exactly will;l Nigerians breathe a sign of relief that the COVID-19 war is over.

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