Susan Idoko Okpe Nee Lawani, British Nigerian Who Tested Positive To COVID-19 In Benue State Hires Lawyer To Regain Freedom From Isolation
Healthy British Nigerian Woman Held At Abuja Isolation Centre Against Her Wish Hires Lawyer To Regain Freedom
A British Nigerian citizen, Susan Idoko Okpe who was tagged the index case of COVID-19 in Benue has hired a lawyer to challenge a test declaring her a coronavirus patient.
58-year-old Mrs Susan Idoko-Okpe, who arrived in Nigeria from the United Kingdom on March 22, is protesting that the result of a positive COVID-19 test leading to her being taken to the Benue State isolation centre in Makurdi on March 27 and subsequently to the National Hospital in Abuja, did not belong to her.
In a protest letter written to the Minister of Health on her behalf by her lawyer, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), Idoko-Okpe contended that while she only arrived in Nigeria on March 22, the COVID-19 positive result, tagged her own, was conducted about February 29.
She added that while the owner of the COVID-19 positive test was identified as a 62-year-old Ms. Susan Okpe, her own name is Mrs Susan Idoko-Okpe and she is 58 years old.
She said since late March that she had been “detained” at the National Hospital in Abuja, she had shown no symptoms of COVID-19 or that of any other illness but she was being subjected to COVID-19 treatment against her will.
Adegboruwa demanded that his client be immediately released from the isolation centre.
He explained that Idoko-Okpe, who is based in the UK, only came to Nigeria for the burial of her mother scheduled for April 3 and 4.
“Our client arrived Nigeria on March 22, 2020, through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and thereafter proceeded to Abuja from where she headed for Benue State, to partake in her mother’s funeral programmes.
“Owing to the stress of her journey, our client experienced some headache and fatigue, whereupon her sister introduced her to Grace Cottage Hospital, in Makurdi, Benue State. She was registered in that hospital on March 24.
“On March 25, 2020, a doctor at Grace Cottage Hospital informed our client that the standard procedure for people coming from countries with high prevalence of COVID-19, like the United Kingdom, was to take their samples, so he would have to call health experts from the Benue State Ministry of Health to carry out a COVID-19 test on her. Our client did not object to this procedure, as a law-abiding citizen.
“Thereafter, the doctor came into our client’s private ward in the hospital with two men, whom he claimed were from the Benue State Ministry of Health.
“They took the samples from our client’s left nostril and her throat. Our client then enquired from the doctor as to the collection of the test results and he responded that they would be ready in 24 hours. Though our client was now well and ready to leave the private hospital, she was advised to wait for the outcome of the COVID-19 test results, so she waited.
“On March 27, 2020, the doctor informed our client that the test results were out and they confirmed that our client had tested positive for COVID-19. Our client asked for the said test results, but the doctor claimed that he didn’t have them too and that he too was only informed verbally.”
Adegboruwa said his client was shocked when her attention was called to a radio broadcast by the Governor of Benue State, declaring her as the COVID-19 index case in Benue while she had not even seen the result of the test.
Adegboruwa said his client was subsequently moved to the Benue State isolation centre where she was allegedly “treated with disdain, dehumanised, stigmatised, traumatised and degraded.”