COVID-19: Ogun Lecturer Tackles Lagos Over Detention, Govt Threatens Prosecution
A lecturer at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State, Adesola Adeleke, has accused the Lagos State Government of unfair treatment and illegal detention over the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adeleke, in an interview conducted by Newsmen and posted on Facebook, lamented that the state government subjected her and her baby to hardship despite testing negative for COVID-19 four times.
She said her plight started after she completed a doctorate in South Africa and booked a flight back home.
According to her, when she got to the O.R. Tambo International Airport in South Africa, she was informed that she must pay N481,890 on the Nigeria Immigration Travel Portal before she would be allowed to board.
After reportedly struggling to raise the funds, she was told she had missed her flight.
The victim said she became stranded with her baby at the airport, as she made efforts to raise funds for another flight.
The Osun State indigene said she took two COVID-19 tests, which returned negative, before her travel to Nigeria.
“I went to the Lagos State portal to pay N481,890 for 14 days of hotel accommodation for self-isolation.
“When we arrived in Lagos, I was asked to fill a form and they took our passports from us.
“The hotel I chose on the portal to be isolated in was in Ikeja. We did not see the driver to get us to the hotel. My baby was tired and crying profusely; it was her first time in Nigeria. I spoke to a nurse, who told me I could self-isolate at home.
“So, a vehicle came from Ibadan to pick me in Lagos. I was on self-isolation in Ibadan when I called the Ikeja hotel to ask if they were expecting me, but they said they had no record of me. I called three times, and they said the same thing.
“After seven days, I paid N39,400 to take another test at one of the NCDC accredited centres in Ibadan and the test came out negative. That’s three negative tests,” she added.
According to Adeleke, she returned to the airport for her passport and was referred to the port health authority, where she was accused of absconding and not isolating in Lagos.
She claimed she was referred to the Medical Director of the Yaba Mainland Hospital, Dr Abimbola Bowale.
Bowale was said to have called the Ikeja hotel, which confirmed her record, but claimed its facility was already overbooked.
Adeleke said the doctor instructed one Raphael to book a new hotel for her, as she was asked to add N16,000 to the N481,890 she paid before arriving the country.
The lecturer alleged that she was taken to a mosquito-infested hotel in Isolo.
“Some health officials came the next day to get another sample. They ran the test and it came out negative again. But they said I had to complete another seven days despite the negative results.
“They detained me at the place without any care. I had no access to my child or the work that I returned home to do. Despite the mosquitoes and discomfort they put me through at the hotel, they abandoned me. They did another test and said it was positive and that I had to remain at the hotel and refused to let me see the positive test result,” she added.
She said despite self-isolating, she had to get food for herself outside because she was abandoned.
Adeleke described the hotel accommodation fees collected by the state as outrageous, adding that many Nigerians chose to remain in South Africa because of it.
She said, “There were some people who didn’t pay anything, but got back their passports. They bribed their way through. I refused to bribe anyone because I paid all the necessary fees they asked for. They made me suffer despite taking all my tests. They refused to tell me how much the place I was staying cost. They just said they’ll deduct it from the fee I paid. I am calling on the authorities to return my passport and my baby’s and let me go back to my normal life.”
However, the Director, Public Affairs, Lagos State Ministry of Health, ‘Tunbosun Ogunbanwo, in a statement, said the government would prosecute Adeleke for not following the guidelines of the state.
He said Adeleke’s day-two test was conducted on August 6, 2021, and the result came out negative, adding that her day-seven test on August 14 was positive, which required extension of her isolation.
Ogunbanwo said, “She argued that she could not have been positive and requested a repeat test. A new sample was done by the Lagos State Government at no cost to Adeleke, which was performed on August 16, 2021 and released on August 17, 2021. The repeat test returned positive.
“On the 17th of August, the hotel management called our attention to a man at the facility, claiming to be Adeleke’s father, attempting to forcibly take her away, irrespective of her status. The hotel was asked to allow her to leave as they were being violent and creating a scene.
“Since this incident, Adeleke has made sensational news to avoid being penalised for her actions. In summary, she avoided initial isolation by absconding to Ibadan, despite being aware of the protocol and only returned to try and collect her passport.
“Following our investigations and evidence produced, her claims are totally false, and she would be made to face the consequences of the Coronavirus Law of 2021 based on the allegations that have been levelled against her in a court of law.”