Benue Assembly shuts down as Speaker, member test positive for COVID-19

The Benue State House of Assembly has shut down its activities following a series of routine COVID-19 tests conducted on members which returned positive results for the Speaker, Titus Uba and one of his colleague, Tertsea Gbiseh.

Chairman of the House Committee on Information and Orientation, Tertsea Gbiseh, who made the disclosure on Monday in a statement, noted that the results for sample of other Assembly staffs taken were being awaited.

“The NCDC officials in their report, confirmed that the Speaker, Rt Hon Titus Uba, representing Kyan constituency and Hon Tertsea Gbiseh, representing Kwande East constituency have so far tested positive to the virus, while results for the other Members and staffs is been awaited.

“As a result of this development, the speaker has ordered the immediate closure of the Assembly complex and directed fumigation of the premises,” Gbiseh, who also tested positive for COVID-19, stated.

He added that the Assembly, by virtue of its official functions and constituency responsibilities, is at risk of exposure to carriers of the virus despite the adherence to personal hygiene and COVID-19 safety protocols.

He stressed that just like every other public worker, it had become an occupational hazard that comes with service.

Gbiseh further posited that the affected members have immediately gone into self isolation and full treatment on them had commenced in line with COVID-19 protocols even as he informed that the Speaker and his colleague, Gbiseh are without symptoms at the moment and assisting the NCDC in contact tracing.

The statement added that, “the Speaker commends the State Action Committee on COVID-19 on the work done so far and urged them to do more, especially in the area of accessible test centres.

“He also pleads with the public to assist the fight by observing the basic safety processes of constant hand washing and sanitizing while maintaining social distancing when it is necessary to be in public, community transmission is what we are experiencing now and the responsibility to halt this dreaded foe lies with us all.

“The state legislature will resume plenary when the Speaker determines it is safe to do so under advicement from relevant health workers.

“In the meantime, all important communications will be relayed to Honorable Members and members of staff via virtual meetings.

“We regret any inconveniences this development might cause our constituents but we must be alive to serve you.

“The house leadership will work with the NCDC to confirm the health status of other members and staff and same will be made available to the Press appropriately.”

The Vice-Chairman of Benue State Action Committee on COVID-19, Professor Godwin Achinge, had died from COVID-19 complications on July 5.

Achinge, also a deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics), at the Benue State University, died at a hospital facility in Jos where he was taken to after he tested positive for COVID-19 early last week.