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Nigeria confirms first Covid-19 death as high profile Nigerians hit

Monday March 23 2020
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A policeman distributes flyers to inform the public about measures to prevent spread of COVID-19 in Lagos, Nigeria on March 22, 2020. PHOTO | PIUS UTOMI EKPEI | AFP

By MOHAMMED MOMOH

The Covid-19 situation in Nigeria escalated early on Monday after the viral disease claimed the life of its first victim as one more person tested positive.

The casualty is 67-year-old Suleiman Achimugu, a former managing director of Pipeline and Product Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Mr Achimugu is reported to have been suffering from diabetes and cancer when the viral disease struck him.

As Nigerians mourn the death of Mr Achimugu, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar broke the news that his son has tested positive for coronavirus.

Mr Achimugu, who died overnight at 2 am on March 23, came back from the UK two weeks ago and started showing symptoms of the disease on March 17, 2020.

The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) took his blood samples confirmed him positive as members of his immediate family were quarantined.

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Meanwhile, the infection of the former VP's son has given momentum to the campaign that the disease is real as some critics had claimed that the Nigerian government fabricated Covid-19 in order to loot treasury.

The NCDC had on Sunday put the total number of confirmed cases in Nigeria at 30, but confirmed five new cases on Monday.

These new cases bring the total number of confirmed cases in Nigeria to 35.

Although the NCDC is yet to add the VP's son to the official record, many prominent Nigerians -- including First Lady Aisha Buhari -- took to Twitter to pray for his recovery.

“Your Excellency, It’s with deep sense of concern that I extend my sincere prayers towards the quick recovery of your dear son. Allah renu en Amin”, she tweeted.

Others have also commended Mr Abubakar for publicly disclosing his son’s health status.

“That former Vice President Atiku Abubakar informed the public that his son tested positive to coronavirus is hugely helpful to everyone. Lagos State Government and Federal Ministry of Health and all of us should leverage this to create more awareness that this is real,” Oby Ezekwesili, the former Minister of Solid Minerals and Education said.

Nigeria's first coronavirus patient, an Italian man, has since recovered and been discharged from hospital.

FOLLOW: The Coronavirus Tracker

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