Increase of fatalities in Kano causes fear, authorities in denial, have no explanation

WHILE accounts of multiple deaths in Kano have flooded social media platforms, the situation of things in the state with over three million citizens remain uncertain, as authorities keep silent.

Since registering its first coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic death on April 16, fatalities in Kano reportedly have been on the rise. The Cable reports that about 180 persons were buried within four days in the state.

Areas where deaths have been reported include; Zage, Kano Municipal, Tarauni, Gwale, Kurna, Dala, Chiromawa, Zango, Kofar Mata, Fagge, Kumbotso, and some local government areas outside the metropolitan like Bichi, Kunchi, Wudil, Gwarzo, and Shanono.

A journalist in Kano, Alee Ameen also confirmed to The ICIR that there have been an increase in the number of deaths in the past couple of days in Kano, revealing that official estimates put the figure at 150 while the unofficial figure is said to be as high as 300.

According to Ameen, a medical doctor in the state confirmed an increase in the number of deaths and submitted that the cause “may not be unconnected with COVID-19.”

He also disclosed that medical staff have refused to attend to patients on account of unavailability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs).

However, authorities have denied a record of deaths in the state and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) have kept mum despite Kano recording a spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases in a short period.

Since recording its first COVID-19 case on April 11, Kano now has 73 confirmed cases, the third highest state in Nigeria.

The commissioner of health, Aminu Ibrahim Tsanyawa in a statement asked people to disregard rumors of having mass deaths recently in Kano metropolis.

Tsanyawa who asked that the rumours be disregarded also informed the public that the task force has activated community informants’ structure of World Health Organisation (WHO) to report death and cause of death.

He added that they have also deployed officers to all burial grounds to count bodies brought in for burial daily.

“Honestly, the media and rumor mongers have been trying their best in making us dispense energy in warding them off. This particular rumor has been investigated and found to be untrue so it must be dispelled,” the statement read in part.

The health commissioner never explained why officers were being deployed to count deaths, raising concerns on whether deaths in the state were ever being recorded in the first place.

Similarly, Abdullahi Ganduje, Governor of Kano State refuted reports that mass deaths were occuring in the State.

Ganduje, who spoke on Politics Today, a programme of Channels Television on Wednesday, stated that an investigation of the allegation was being carried out.

“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.

“But there is a lot of fake news going around. We have already started arresting some people who are peddling such rumours. Only one death so far has been recorded from coronavirus infection,” the Governor said.

According to Ganduje, Kano is a cosmopolitan area and people die from different types of diseases.

Similarly, a medical doctor in Kano  told Ameen that the heat period in Kano has its own peculiar illnesses such as meningitis and high rate of deaths.

It was also gathered that the lockdown effected by the state government has hindered families and individuals who survive on lower income to purchase necessary drugs.

He added that it is uncertain that COVID-19 is killing people in the state, giving that the deceased weren’t tested.

He however disclosed that doctors have recorded a high number of patients displaying symptoms similar to COVID-19.

Despite growing concerns, Kano has suspended testing for the disease.



    A member of Kano COVID-19 taskforce, Sadiq Isah, a professor, told BBC Hausa Service that testing was suspended in Kano centre because they lack some basic needs in the centre.

    Though suspending testing, the state government has also applied for N15b from the Federal Government to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

    The Governor, Ganduje explained that the N15b would be expended in paying voluntary health workers engaged by the state to support the health personnel, personal protective equipment (PPE) and the creation of other testing centres.

    Amidst the denial, confusion and unclarity, the NCDC has remained mute over the situation in Kano. Messages sent to the official NCDC phone line got only automated responses that didn’t adress questions asked.

    Seun Durojaiye is a journalist with International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR).

    Join the ICIR WhatsApp channel for in-depth reports on the economy, politics and governance, and investigative reports.

    Support the ICIR

    We invite you to support us to continue the work we do.

    Your support will strengthen journalism in Nigeria and help sustain our democracy.

    If you or someone you know has a lead, tip or personal experience about this report, our WhatsApp line is open and confidential for a conversation


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    Support the ICIR

    We need your support to produce excellent journalism at all times.

    - Advertisement


    - Advertisement