The secretary to the government of the federation (SGF) and chairman of the presidential task force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha has said the reports that some officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) are demanding N35,000 to collect samples for COVID-19 test is absolutely false.
While he was giving answers to questions on Wednesday at the daily presidential task force on COVID-19 briefing, the PTF chairman said the journalists should disregard such stories.
According to Mustapha, there are not many Nigerians who could afford such amount for COVID-19 test, and the report could be heartbreaking for the NCDC workers who continue to put their lives on the line.
“The truth about it– I know what it does to somebody who is working inside out, going around exposing himself collecting samples. That’s one of the most dangerous activities in the management of COVID-19,” he said.
“With an established patient, you already know his status, but those you are going to collect samples from, you don’t know their status. So, it calls for absolute diligence, you must be prepared and trained for it and you are just out there in the warfront not knowing what will happen to you. And some people will take delight in saying that you demand for 35, 000, how many Nigerians can afford N35, 000 to take a sample?
“If it were even N1,000 or N2,000, we understand. So, next time let’s verify these stories because it does a lot of damage to the morale of the people that are out there working to keep us safe to help us navigate this very difficult process in which we have found ourselves.
“It would do us a lot of good if we find out, do a double check to the veracity of that kind of allegation. And if you establish that it is not true, don’t even bother to ask of it, because they are in their homes now, some of them getting ready to start their night duties, some of them are currently at work and watching this. And I know as a human being what will be going on in their mind; I will leave my family, expose myself to this danger, and all I get is an allegation that I am asking for N35,000. What is N35,000 compared to the risk that they are taking?
“Mine is a passionate appeal that we are all together in this and truly today I’m a little bit sober because of the dangers that I see ahead and I refer to it in my speech.”
Mustapha then mentioned Nigerians are yet to come to agree with the lethal nature of COVID-19, and this is worrisome.