While the Nigerian Government may have announced only 65 confirmed cases of Coronavirus so far, the numbers clearly do not reflect the true state of things in the country, many observers believe.
With the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control in charge of testing and confirming the number of infected persons in the country, the agency seems compromised as data are being hidden from the public.
It was reported that there are more silent cases of Coronavirus than the figure released by the NCDC is showing.
Also, few number of tests are being conducted with the agency not attending to complaints made by some Nigerians, who call the NCDC hotlines to report suspected cases of COVID-19.
The country has five testing centres – two in Lagos and one each in Abuja, Osun and Edo.
A Twitter user, @UtohPaul, raised the alarm on how people were not being tested as the NCDC had prioritised politicians and influential Nigerians for testing.
“There are people waiting to be tested but rather than sort this backlog out, designated personnel have been deployed to government officials and other VIPs. This thing will blow in our faces,” he tweeted.
As at March 25, only 178 tests had been conducted in Nigeria since the first case was recorded in the country on February 27.
According to the NCDC, 178 subjects were tested in a total of 16 states – Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, FCT, Kano, Katsina, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Rivers and Yobe.
At least 88 tests have been done in Lagos followed by Abuja with 52 tests.
The two states currently have the highest number of cases with 32 in Lagos and 10 in Abuja.
As against the deliberate act of not testing people in Nigeria, the World Health Organisation has called for the mass testing of people suspected of having the virus.
“You cannot fight a fire blindfolded and we cannot stop this pandemic if we don’t know who is infected.
“We have a simple message for all countries: test, test, test. Test every suspected case,” WHO said.
As it stands, there are 2,100 total confirmed Coronavirus cases in Africa with Sierra Leone, Sao Tome and Principe, Malawi, Comoros, Lesotho, Botswana, Burundi, and South Sudan yet to record any case of the COVID-19 virus.
While 101 persons have recovered, 31 deaths have been recorded on the continent.
There are fears that if the situation remains the same in Nigeria and more people with suspected cases are denied access to testing, the spread of the virus could further escalate in the coming days in Africa’s most populous country.