A Nigerian man identified as Emeka Ijeh has been accused of assaulting health workers who adviced him to self-isolate as a precautionary measure against the spread of coronavirus.
An epidemologist, Richard Ikwuogu who was a victim of the alleged attack said it occurred at Okpanam, a community in Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State.
Recounting how the incident occurred in a short Whatsapp message, Ikwuogu said they showed up at Mr. Ijeh’s home after receiving report of his refusal to isolate after returning to the country from London on March 23.
Prior to the alleged attack, Mr Ijeh allegedly hurled abusive words at health officials when called on the phone and asked to follow the health directives.
“We went with the intent of discussing why he should self-isolate but because of the phone call experience, we went to the Ogoani of Okpanam who asked the chairman of (a) vigilante group in Okpanam to lead us to the place.
“On getting to his house opposite the Omu of Okpanam. He was informed that some persons were looking for him. He came down and while we tried to exchange pleasantries, he started abusing us that we were infringing on his privacy.
“He ordered us out of his residence. We left quietly but I never knew he was following us.
“I and other officials were immediately assaulted on the road by Mr Ijeh.”
The Commissioner of Health in Delta state, Mordi Ononye also confirmed the incident in a statement he released on Saturday March 28. Ononye said the man who has not undergone a coronavirus test was arrested and later released because it was not in line with best practices.
He added that the man’s arrest could pose a health risk and further spread the disease if he is positive.
The commissioner also disclosed that Ijeh who has apologized to the health officials, claimed he has been “treated as a leper” since his return from London. Ononye however stated that the London returnee’s claim is not an acceptable excuse for the attack launched on health officials who visited him.
Nigeria currently has 97 confirmed cases of Coronavirus and has also recorded one death.