Mysterious deaths: Toll rises, as more citizens die in Kano

Ganduje, KanoGovernor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State

…Ganduje raises alarm over fear of community transmission
…PDP Reps’ caucus demands probe, urgent solutions

By Levinus Nwabughiogu, Bashir Bello & Abdulmumin Murtala

The strange deaths in Kano continued, yesterday, with the passing of four prominent citizens of the state. They include a cleric, Sheik Tijjani Yola, who wa also the head of Murtala Mohammed Central Mosque in the state; father of Vice Chancellor of National Open University, NOUN, Uba Adamu; former speaker of Jigawa State House of Assembly, Adamu Sarawa; and former chairperson of the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria, FOMWAN, Halima Shittu.

This came as Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, yesterday, raised  the alarm over fear of large scale community transmission of COVID-19 in the state.

This is even as Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, caucus in the House of Representatives expressed concern and displeasure over the health crisis and mysterious deaths in Kano State, calling for urgent practical steps to arrest the situation.

The fresh deaths are coming despite assurances by the state government that there was no cause for alarm.

A member of the cleric’s family, who disclosed that he died in the early hours of yesterday, said:  “He passed on at his residence in Gwale quarters in Kano in the early hours of today (yesterday) and was laid to rest around 9 am.’’

A resident, Abdul Umar, , who also confirmed the death of the cleric, said people were in a sad mood in the ancient city.

“The death of Sheik Yola has left a big vacuum. He was managing one of the largest mosques in Kano. He was well known for his oral poetry extolling the virtues of Prophet Muhammad. Everything that happens in life is from Allah but this is shocking,” he said.

The former FOMWAN boss was said to have died at her residence at NNDC quarters, yesterday morning and has been buried in accordance with Islamic rites.

Also reported dead is a female Hizbah Commander, Halima Shitu, 55.  Her sister, Maimuna Shitu, told newsmen that she died after a brief illness.

Similarly, the Vice Chancellor of Kano State University of Science and Technology, Wudil, Prof. Shehu Musa, yesterday, in a statement announced  the death of the Dr. Ghali Kabir of the Department of Architecture.

Until his death,Umar was a senior lecturer  at the institution. However, the cause of his death is yet to be made public by the institution. He is the fifth academician to have died in the last 72 hours.

Besides, a yet-to-be-identified middle-aged man was also discovered dead on the street of Kano, close to Kofar Nasasarawa gate, yesterday.

An eyewitness told newsmen that the dead man had always stayed around the area where he was found dead.

Ganduje raises alarm over fear of community transmission

Meanwhile, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, yesterday, raised the alarm over fear of large scale community transmission of covid-19 in the state.

Ganduje raised the alarm while receiving a delegation of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, led by Dr. Nasiru Gwarzo, which was in the state to give a helping hand to unravel the cause of the mysterious deaths and also contain the spread of the virus in the state.

The governor said the state needed more testing centres and multiple collection centres in all the 44 local government areas of the state.

He said:  “Testing centre is the nucleus of the fight against COVID-19. It is just like a heart in our body. We have to give you full cooperation. This is what we have been looking for.

“We need more testing centres in the state, and the extension of isolation centres is absolutely necessary because there is this fear of community transmission. And we need more sample collection areas. In all the 44 local governments, we must have multiple collection centres.

“We requested for the provision of more Personal Protection Equipment, PPEs. Also, life insurance is absolutely necessary. We are also providing palliatives to our health workers, they also have families who must be supported.

“We also need optimum supply of all supplies to the state. We will work together day and night.  After going round with you, we will come and see where we have gaps.

Leader of the delegation, Dr. Nasiru Gwarzo, told the governor that they were in the state on the matching order of President Buhari to evaluate worrying situation in Kano and find lasting solution.

He said with the array of experienced epidemiologists and other technical personnel, the team was ready to support the state’s task force to review cases of COVID-19 pandemic and determine whether or not the mysterious deaths have connection with it.

He allayed the fear of dominance or outright take over of activities of the state’s Task Force on COVID-19.

He said: “We are here to support Kano and offer technical assistance. Our interest as directed is to interrupt further spread of the virus in Kano.

“We are also mandated to evaluate the incessant deaths in the state and whether or not the cause of deaths is natural or associated with COVID-19 pandemic.”

In the delegation were Professor Abdussalam Nasidi, the first pioneer Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, who is also the Special Adviser to the Health Minister on COVID-19 to Kano.

PDP Reps’ caucus demands probe, urgent solutions

Reacting to the deaths in Kano, yesterday, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, caucus in the House of Representatives expressed utmost concern and displeasure over the health crisis and mysterious deaths in Kano State, calling for urgent practical steps to arrest the situation.

In a statement signed by the caucus leader, Kingsley Chinda (Rivers State), the caucus said the development was more worrisome because it was happening in the midst of the current COVID-19 pandemic ravaging Nigeria and the world at large.

He said: “As a caucus, we join several well-meaning Nigerians to express our concerns over the health crisis in Kano State.

“The very recent reports of unprecedented deaths of scores of people within a few days in Kano State should concern every responsible public officer.”

Chinda said while the cause of the deaths was yet to be ascertained, the effort of the Kano State government and that of the Federal Government, through Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, and the Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID-19, seemed to have been largely lame, clueless and, indeed, devoid of any practical solutions.

He said no concrete and genuine effort had been made to intervene, manage and/or bring the situation under control.

The caucus, therefore, called for full investigation into the circumstances to unravel the mystery.

Vanguard

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