Covid-19: “I came to bury my father but was detained for 18 days” – Plateau Military Officer

3 min read
Mourners at the burial of a Plateau Military Officer: representative photo

A Plateau-born military Officer, Daniel Gotiring (not real name), may have faced his worst pain, when he was arrested on arrival to Plateau State for the burial of his father.

Gotiring had not seen his father in a while, when he got the news of his death from his workstation in Lagos.

After securing a pass from his superiors, Gotiring arrived Plateau by road on Monday April 13, 2020 and was screened at the border for covid-19 symptoms.

Cleared, the young Officer drove in but was stopped by State Covid-19 taskforce officials who insisted to place him on isolation for 14 days.

Though not tried by a court, Mr. Gotiring accepted but pleaded to go on self-isolation after bidding fairwell to his father, somewhere in Central Plateau State.

Alternatively, he asked to be escorted to bury his father and return to the isolation center. None of his appeals was accepted despite his pass and military status.

Broken but still acting strong, Gotiring went along with 32 others to join some 11 that had been detained in an isolation center in Heipang, Barkin Ladi Local Government Area.

Plateau index case alarm

On the 4th day of Mr. Gotiring’s detention, Miss Hauwa Yakubu, 20, was brought into the same detention center.

She had just returned from Kano where she attended a wedding and was reported to covid-19 taskforce by neighbors.

Few hours later when she vomited and complained of persistent ulcer, NCDC Officials took her samples and on April 23, declared her positive for covid-19.

Hauwa was not officially notified of her status, but only saw it on social media with her name widely displayed.

The 20year-old according to sources suddenly became withdrawn and acting strange, somewhat in a suicidal manner.

But while everyone else avoided her, Officer Gotiring took the risk to be her best friend for the three extra days she stayed in the center while officials claimed to have moved her for treatment.

“I had to talk to her always, and ensure she was not disturbed as to proceed with any plans to take her life,” said the Officer.

Hauwa was relocated to Jos University Teaching Hospital on Saturday April 25, 2020 after our news report exposing the failure of officials to notify her of her status, move her to quarantine and identify her contacts.

Prolonged detention

Mr. Gotiring’s detention expired two days later, Monday April 27, 2020 but was not released.

Without manifesting any symptoms, NCDC insisted on taking samples from him and other detainees due for release that day.

They obliged, but their results never came until they protested on Wednesday April 29, and Thursday April 30, 2020.

The Officials merely declared the results verbally and released them to each find their way more than 10hours before the State relaxed its third lockdown.

Officer Gotiring is however already being threatened to be detained for another 14 days on return to Lagos unless he presents a test result certifying him free of the virus.

But the Officials have merely done their job and do not care what becomes of any inmate.

“I came in pains to bury my father, but was subjected to this kind of treatment; detained beyond required time and still denied my test result in my own home,” regrets the Officer.

But what can he do? Nothing. It will be suicide to fight government. But if as an officer he has suffered such rights abuse, how many ordinary citizens with no uniform or any form of defense might be facing same or even worse fate?

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