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Senator denies travelling to Europe with Rivers’ coronavirus index case

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- Bayelsa lauds residents’ compliance with lockdown order

The senator representing Rivers South-East in the National Assembly, Barry Impigi, has refuted claims that the 19-year-old female model that tested positive for COVID-19 in the state accompanied him to Europe.

Meanwhile, the National Youth Council of Ogoni People (NYCOP) has faulted the choice of the General Hospital, Eleme as a treatment centre for the disease.

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The social media in Port Harcourt had been awash with reports that Mpigi, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senator, allegedly travelled to Europe with the undergraduate cum model last Wednesday.

The lawmaker denied knowing the female in person let alone have her in his entourage.

He acknowledged travelling recently to the United Kingdom in the company of his colleagues and isolated himself immediately he returned to Nigeria.

Mpigi added that he had been maintaining the mandatory social distancing recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

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He regretted that his political opponents could “resort to playing politics with a lethal disease like the Coronavirus.”

“I have nothing to do with a 19-year-old girl. My own daughter is 14. This has to do with morals. For those who are playing politics with life and disease, it is unfortunate,” the legislator added.

Mpigi noted that on the instruction of the leadership of the National Assembly, he had submitted himself for test, which eventually turned out negative.

Stating that he was prepared for further tests, the senator challenged doubters to reach out to the model for her comments.

The Guardian gathered from sources close to the undergraduate that she had travelled to Italy for the Milan fashion show with three other girls.

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The state government had also confirmed that the model’s travel history showed she also visited France and Greece.

But NYCOP president, Theophilus Mbagha, said while the group supports the efforts of the Rivers government in combating the spread of the virus and getting victims treated, they were however worried about the choice of the medical facility as a treatment centre, urging immediate relocation.

Besides, Governor Douye Diri has expressed satisfaction with the level of compliance with his administration’s lockdown directive in Bayelsa State.

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He gave the commendation during a tour of the state capital, Yenagoa, and the various land borders to assess the level of adherence to the restrictions.

The governor, who chairs the multi-sectoral taskforce for coordinating and implementing the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, expressed the conviction that the combined efforts of the state government and those of neighbouring Rivers and Delta would yield positive results.

He said: “I believe that there is substantial compliance and our neighbouring states have also locked down. So, we believe that proactive measures would be fruitful.”

Diri cautioned against disobedience of the directives, urging proper orientation, just as he appealed to the people to cooperate with health officials and security agents to protect lives.

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