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Ganduje lied, deaths in Kano are increasing, medical assistance unavailable —Shuaibu

SABITU Shuaibu, Kano State Deputy Coordinator of COVID-19 Response Team has confirmed that the state has recorded over 640 deaths in one week.

This was despite initial denial by Abdullahi Ganduje, Governor of Kano State of reports that mass deaths were being recorded in the state.

Shuaibu who spoke during an interview with Channels TV, clarified that the recorded deaths happened in a space of one week and not two days as erroneously reported.

His confirmation was contrary to Ganduje’s earlier stance on the mass deaths in the state which he denied and regarded as complete falsehood.

“We will soon get a complete report but I assure you that information is not correct. Looking at previous burials, there is nothing to show that there is an unusual frequency of deaths in Kano State,” the governor said in an interview.

However, shortly after denying reports of a spike in deaths, the governor announced his application to the Federal Government to release N15 billion to his state to enable the fight against Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

While the cause of mass deaths in Kano remains unclear, several reports have linked the deaths to  COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the only COVID-19 Testing Centre in Kano has been shut down, due to meagre resources and an understaffed Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) office.

Usman Yusuf, a professor of Haematology-Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation in Kano, was among the first to raise the alarm on the increase in deaths in the state.

Yusuf who believed the deaths were linked to the novel virus, said he has received several distress calls and messages from Kano residents.

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“One of my staff lost his mother today Friday 24th, April 2020 to circumstances similar to COVID-19 with (sudden fever, coughing, and rapid breathing). When we went to bury her ​at 9.30 am​, we discovered that my mother’s body was the 18th to be buried since dawn (a time span of 3-4 hours).

“Why is the Kano State Governor denying COVID-19 deaths in Kano? People should please speak up and get us help,” one of the messages sent to Yusuf read.

In a statement sighted by The ICIR, the professor said that Kano State Government under the leadership of Ganduje lacks the will, capacity, compassion, transparency, or the trust of its people to arrest the situation.

He disclosed that the governor had initially set up a COVID-19 State Task Force and included his daughter as a member.

“The Governor initially set up a State Task Force with his daughter as a member. Despite being a Medical Resident, she is said to wield so much power that even the Deputy Governor defers to her and the educated views of senior medical professionals are not taken seriously.

“The task force is now virtually moribund since its key members went into isolation after testing positive for the virus,” Yusuf said.

Yusuf also pointed that the Kano State Government was in denial and doing all in its power to hide the deaths.

According to him, reliable reports indicate that cemetery workers in the city have been censored and directed by state officials not to give any interviews divulging the number of burials.

As fear and panic grow in Kano, calls for the medical personnel to be properly equipped with Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) have been on the rise.

Yusuf recommended that health workers be provided with PPEs and the COVID-19 Presidential Task Force be relocated to Kano and make the city its new theatre of operation.

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At the moment, Kano has officially recorded 77 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one death.

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