1 year after first COVID-19 death in Nigeria, mortality rate stands at 1.25%

NIGERIA recorded its first COVID-19 case on February 27, 2020, when an Italian citizen working in the country returned from Milan, Italy, to Lagos on the 25th of February 2020. He was later confirmed positive for COVID-19 by the virology laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital.

On March 23, 2020, exactly 25 days after the first COVID-19 case in Nigeria, the country recorded its first COVID-19 death. According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), which made the announcement, the country’s 1st COVID-19 death was a 67-year-old male, who returned home following medical treatment in the UK.

The NCDC also added that the man had underlying medical conditions―multiple myeloma and diabetes and was undergoing chemotherapy. He was later recognised as former managing director of the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) Suleiman Achimugu,

Nigeria COVID-19 data stands at 161,868 total cases, 2030 deaths

When Nigeria recorded its first COVID-19 death last year, the country’s total COVID-19 case was just 41. The pandemic had just been recorded in five out of the 36 states of the federation, with the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) also making the list.

As of then, Lagos State had the highest COVID-19 cases with 48, followed by FCT with 7 cases. Ogun had 2 cases while Edo, Ekiti and Oyo State had 1 case each.

Meanwhile, one year after, the COVID-19 pandemic has spread to all the 36 states of the federation, although the death rate and infection rate differ by states.

As at Tuesday,  March 23,  total COVID-19 cases in the country stood at 161,868 while COVID-19 death was 2030, equating to 1.25 percent mortality rate.

It is also important to note that 1.727 million COVID-19 test samples have been carried out in the country so far, with 161,868 (equating 9.4 percent) returning positive.

No fewer than 148,125 people, who had tested positive for COVID-19, have been discharged so far, making the country‘s active COVID-19 cases stand at 11,713.

Lagos, FCT, Plateau, Kaduna and Rivers have the highest COVID-19 cases

Out of the total 161,868 COVID-19 cases in Nigeria as at Tuesday, fives states have been recognised as the states where the pandemic is prevalent.

Lagos State is the hotspot of COVID-19 in Nigeria with 57,337 cases, followed by Abuja that has 19,584 cases; Plateau with 9,015 cases; Kaduna, 8,869 cases; and Rivers with 6,867.

Covid-19 mortality rate in Nigeria
Covid-19 mortality rate in Nigeria

The five states alone account for the 63 percent of the total COVID-19 cases in Nigeria.

While Kogi, Zamfara and Yobe are having the least COVID-19 cases in the country with 5 cases, 231 cases and 293 cases respectively so far.  However, Kogi governor Yahaya Bello has made disparaging comments about the virus, resisting attempts at carrying out tests in the state.

Consequently, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) has warned against travelling to Kogi after classifying the state, Yobe, Jigawa, Zamfara and Kebbi as ‘high-risk’ COVID-19 states.

The PTF hinged its decision on Kogi State government’s repeated denial of the existence of the deadly disease and its poor attitude towards report tests and isolation centres.

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Lagos, FCT, Edo, Oyo and Kano have the highest COVID-19 mortality rate

According to the NCDC data, Lagos, FCT, Edo, Oyo and Kano are the top five states with highest COVID-19 mortality rates in Nigeria. The five states account for the 49.3 percent COVID-19 mortality rate in the country.

The five states have a total of 1,000 COVID-19 deaths out of 2030 cases recorded in the country so far. Lagos alone has 426 COVID-19 deaths; 156 people have died of COVID-19 in FCT; 192 deaths in Kano; 116 in Oyo, and 110 in Kano.

In Zamfara, only eight people have died of the virus. Yobe has recorded 9 COVID-19 deaths; Ekiti has 11, and Nasarawa has 13.

Prominent Nigerians that have died of COVID-19

Below are the prominent Nigerians that are among the 2,030 people that have died of COVID-19 in the country so far:

Former Chief of Staff to Nigerian President, Abba Kyari

Former Chief of Staff to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari Abba Kyari had tested positive for coronavirus disease after returning from a trip to Germany on March 15, 2020.

His death was later confirmed on April 18, 2020, in a statement posted by  presidential spokesperson Femi Adesina.

Several reports had it that Kyari had a history of medical complications, including diabetes and was transferred from Abuja the capital city to Lagos for medical care before his eventual death.

Kyari died at the age of 67.

Former Governor Abiola Ajimobi

Former Oyo State governor Abiola Ajimobi was another prominent Nigerian who died of COVID-19.

Ajimobi died on June 20,2020, a week after news of his death had circulated before it was confirmed.

Ajimobi,  under the platform of the Alliance for Democracy, served as senator representing Oyo South between 2003 and 2007. In 2011, he won the Oyo State governorship election under the platform of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), and was re-elected for a second term in 2015, making him the first governor in the history of the state to complete two terms in office.

Wahab Adegbenro

Former Ondo State commissioner of health Wahab Adegbenro was another prominent Nigerian that succumbed to the cold hands of death due to COVID- 19 in 2020.

Adegbenro, who was at the forefront of the fight against the disease in the state, died of the virus on July 2, 2020.

Senator Esho Jinadu aka Buruji Kashamu

A senator, Esho Jinadu, popularly known as Buruji Kashamu, died of COVID-19 on August 8,2020.

Kashamu had served as the senator representing Ogun East in the National Assembly at the 8th assembly.

He was the flag bearer of the People’s Democratic Party in the 2019 Ogun State gubernatorial election and lost against Dapo Abiodun of the All Progressives Congress coming in a distant 4th.

Second wave: How Nigeria’s COVID-19 cases surged to highest daily record

Dan Foster

Popular Nigerian-American broadcaster Daniel ‘Dan’ Foster was another prominent Nigerian who died of COVID-19.



    Dan foster died on June 17, 2020.

    He was a veteran radio host, who worked with Cool FM, Inspiration FM, and Classic FM. He was also a judge on Idol West Africa alongside Dede Mabiaku and Kate Henshaw on Nigeria’s Got Talent.

    Prior to his relocation back to Nigeria, Foster had worked with numerous radio stations in the United States of America.

    This report is part of COVID-19 Response: Together For Reliable Information Project, implemented by Paged Initiative supported by the European Union and Dress Press Unlimited.

    'Niyi worked with The ICIR as an Investigative Reporter and Fact-checker from 2020 till September 2022. You can shoot him an email via [email protected]. You can as well follow him on Twitter via @niyi_oyedeji.

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