Nigeria has recorded a total of 6,677 coronavirus cases in 34 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, as of May 20, 2020.
Kogi and Cross River are the only two states in the country yet to record cases, but authorities have expressed fears that it might be because the governments of both states are not taking the outbreak seriously enough.
Ayade and Kogi’s Governor Yahaya Bello have been vocal about their displeasure with the response of the Federal Government and other state governments.
The latest situation report published by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Tuesday, May 19 showed that the two have conducted a combined total of eight tests since Nigeria’s index case was announced on February 27.
A table of coronavirus tests conducted in Nigerian states, as of May 17, 2020 [NCDC]
While speaking during an interview on Channels Television on Thursday, May 21, Ayade said the test method lacks responsibility and reliability.
He said, “As a professor of science, I know that we’re not customising the action plan that reflects our situation and originality.
“As a nation, you can’t just throw money in the hands of manufacturers of test reagents just because you want to test.
“You only test when there’s a suspicion that calls for concern.”
The governor, elected for a second term last year, cast further doubt on the spread of the disease in Nigeria, repeating an already-disproved claim that the novel disease cannot survive in hot weather.
“Indeed, even our own temperature here is such that when you sneeze, if a virus escapes, it’s escaping into hell fire because it can’t stand temperature of 32 degrees centigrade. Sometimes in Nigeria, we do up to 42 degrees,” he said.
The governor alleged that the pandemic has turned into a “full-scale business” in the West with business people benefiting from selling reagents.
The NCDC says anyone can qualify for a test if they suffer from cough or fever with any one of shivering, body pain, headache, sore throat, loss of taste/smell, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, cattarh, or fatigue.
Ayade however said the NCDC has lowered the testing criteria so badly that it feeds into the business plan of the Western world where the test kits come from.
“If the NCDC continues to lower the criteria just to get more people tested, I begin to wonder because we’d have to exhaust the entire accounts of this country to be able to support the testing regime as proposed by the criteria so set.
“I think I cannot comply with it. I must lead from the front because I’m exposed and smart,” he said.
The governor said that Africa must shut itself away from the rest of the world and develop local solutions to finally resist the alleged exploitation of the West.
He praised Madagascar for mass-producing a herbal tea which it has claimed can cure the coronavirus disease, a claim that has not been scientifically proven.
Ayade said Nigeria must emulate its African neighbour, and lamented that even though has started his own research on the production of vaccine, he can’t do much with it because of the financial limitations of his state.