COVID-19: Benue electoral commission postpones local election indefinitely

Election officials sort out ballots papers at the end of voting in one of the polling stations in Yola, Nigeria Saturday, March 28, 2015. Nigerians went to the polls Saturday in presidential elections which analysts say will be the most tightly contested in the history of Africa's richest nation and its largest democracy. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

The Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC) has announced the indefinite postponement of the local government election initially scheduled to hold on Saturday, March 28.

BSIEC Chairman Terso Loko, who disclosed this to reporters at a press briefing in his office, said the election was postponed as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic ravaging the world.

State Governor Samuel Ortom had earlier on Tuesday appealed to the Commission to postpone the said election as a way of encouraging people of the state to maintain social distance during this period.

On Wednesday, the governor had toured the two health facilities that have been designated as treatment and isolation centres for the treatment of any coronavirus patient in the state.

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At the health centres – Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH) and the Federal Medical Center (FMC) – the governor expressed satisfaction with the level of preparedness of the state to handle any COVID-19 case.

Although there is no case of the dreaded virus in the state, there are rumours that some persons who had recently returned from abroad presented symptoms of the virus and are self-isolating in their homes.

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But the state government, during a live radio broadcast on Wednesday, assured that the state’s emergency response team would go after such persons and monitor them to ascertain their true state of health.

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Ortom said although no case of the virus had been reported in the state, he had directed the COVID-19 committee to trace all those who may have recently returned from abroad to check their travel history and, if necessary, subject them to COVID -19 tests.

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