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COVID-19 is real, those denying it are ignorant–Dr Bashir Aliyu

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Nazifi Dawud

Renowned Islamic scholar Dr Bashir Aliyu Umar has appealed to people to take precautions against the novel COVID-19 coronavirus, saying the disease is real and not a “Western conspiracy” as some ignorant persons are claiming.

KANO FOCUS reports that Dr Umar, head of Al-Fur’qan Islamic Centre in Kano city, made the appeal during a Qur’an exegesis session on Saturday.

He said it was unjust for people who have no knowledge on the coronavirus pandemic to claim it was propaganda, while the infection is spreading and killing people.

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“Are you telling people to just relax without taking any precautions until the (coronavirus) disease comes to their door steps and kills them? Is this what Islam teaches you?,” he asked rhetorically.

“No one knows exactly how this disease came about. Those who are calling it propaganda are ignorant. Those who say it’s a conspiracy do not know anything apart from the ability to read in English language.

“They say it’s just a plot between the United States of America (USA) and China, forgetting that that China was the first victim of the disease followed by the US.

“Even Isreal is a victim. How many people died in Israel, about 200 and still counting. And just like Islamic countries closed down their mosques, the Isrealis also shut down their synagogues despite their orthodox doctrine,” he added.

According to him: “The whole world is on its knees. Governments are helping companies  to pay salaries in England. Are you saying that the capitalist nations would deliberately create something that would destroy them?

“In U.S, (President Donald) Trump says every citizen will be given $1,000 each to prevent the economy from collapsing. But despite this, the economy is still crumbling. Only Allah can do this”.

Dr Bashir also urged Islamic scholars to be skeptical of ignorant followers that often deceive them with a fake claim from a 1980 fictitious novel that purportedly predicted the coming of the coronavirus.

“Those who are using a non-scientific fictional novel to claim that the coronavirus is a conspiracy theory are ignorant.

“Even though they claim that the novel predicted the virus in Wuhan, there is no where that the name Wuhan is mentioned in the said novel. But they use that fake information to deceive Islamic scholars who also come out to mislead members of the public,” he said.

KANO FOCUS reports that concerns are being raised on how some radio stations in Kano invite quacks, posing as medical experts to “analyse” the coronavirus pandemic, and end up misleading the public in the process.

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Aminu Dantata donates N300m to tackle COVID-19

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Mukhtar Yahya Usman

Aminu Alhassan Dantata, a foremost Kano businessman and respected elder has donated N300 million to the Kano state government as a contribution to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was revealed in a statement released on Monday by Malam Muhammadu Garba, the state Commissioner for Information.

Mr Garba also said other Kano-based businessmen, Alhaji Abba Sumaila and Alhaji Abubakar Dalhatu, chairman of Al-Hamsad Group, have donated 500 sacks of spaghetti and N5 million respectively.

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He said all commissioners and political office holders in the state have also donated 50 percent of their salaries to the noble cause.

“The first donation of N28.5 million from UBA was yesterday (Sunday) announced by Governor (Abdullahi) Ganduje at the inauguration ceremony while Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has pledged to provide all needed facilities for the earmarked 600-bed Isolation Centre at Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano,” he said.

Mr Garba added that a 38-member committee was set up to collect donations and distribute them to those in need in order to reduce the effect of tough measures taken by the state government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Kano.

The committee therefore urged organizations and wealthy individuals within and outside the state to donate generously towards the humanitarian gesture.

“Anyone willing to donate to the committee in cash should pay/transfer to this account: Kano State COVID-19 Support, UBA, Account No: 1022751785.

“Donations in kind are also collected at a warehouse at number 94, Maganda Road and Kano State Government Printing Press, Emir’s Palace Road,” the commissioner said.

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CISLAC demands transparency in managing funds donated to fight COVID-19

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Nasiru Yusuf

The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has urged the Nigerian government to ensure accountability and transparency in managing all funds donated to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement on Monday, CISLAC’s Executive Director, Auwal Rafsanjani, also called for the inclusion of the media and other groups promoting accountability in the utilization of the funds.

Mr Rafsanjani noted that the recent composition of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 was a welcome decision.

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He, however, lamented that the committee failed to have a balanced representation, especially in the area of inclusion of media and other accountability entities.

“In times of global public emergency, proactive measures to ensure judicious utilisation and distribution of these funds are needed more than ever.

“Inclusion of media and other accountability entities in the committee would compel transparency and accountability in the utilisation and dissemination of managed funds.

“At this critical junction, Nigeria cannot afford mismanagement and misappropriation of public and donated funds,” Mr Rafsanjani said.

He also warned that diversion of funds will be a betrayal of the trust of Nigerians.

“We on this note have no hesitation to state that diversion or misappropriation of the funds would be tantamount to total betrayal, unpatriotic, unsympathetic and selfishness in the management of the nation’s treasury which are punishable under relevant laws,” the statement noted.

Mr Rafsanjani, therefore, disclosed that CISLAC would monitor the funds and how it is spent.

“While we monitor with keen interest response of various authorities to the commitment of the Federal Government towards alleviating impacts of the newly pronounced lockdown in some states, we demand sincere effort to ensure relief materials and other financial and material assistance are deployed accordingly to citizens irrespective of their socio-economic status with a holistic and transparent strategy to adequately appropriate relief package to citizens at the grassroots level,” he added.

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COVID-19: Kano to provide palliatives to journalists in lockdown period

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Nasiru Yusuf

The Kano state has pledged to support journalists with palliatives whenever a lockdown is declared in the state to tackle the spread of the coronavirus disease otherwise known as COVID-19.

KANO FOCUS reports that Muhammad Garba, the state’s Commissioner for Information said this on Monday, during a one-day training organised by the Kano Chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) for journalists in the state on the coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I discussed with the governor (Abdullahi Umar Ganduje) on the need to consider the critical role the journalists play in times of disaster.

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“The state government is very much aware of the challenges journalists face in critical and disastrous times such as the​ ​ COVID-19 pandemic, so the government will do its best to guarantee  their safety during the trying time of the pandemic,” he said.

“There is need for government to see how it can support the media in this time of COVID-19 pandemic. Whatever support that is going to be given to other sectors, the media will surely be considered.

“We will work together with the media and see how we can overcome this pandemic which has caused serious harm to the entire world,” Mr Garba added.

The commissioner, who chaired the occassion, described journalists as very important professionals, whose services remained critical “in this unfortunate era of COVID-19.”

He however, tasked journalists to live above board and remain responsible while disseminating information concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.

He pointed out that there was the need for journalists to be guided by the Code and Ethics of the noble profession at all times.

He described the workshop as very timely and needful and charged participants to tap from the knowledge of resource persons who were there to make presentations.

Similarly in her remark, Chairman of the Broadcasters Organisation of Nigeria (BON), Sa’a Ibrahim charged news managers to develop ways of engaging people on the necessary measures they are expected to take to prevent themselves from contracting the COVID-19.

Mrs Ibrahim, who is also the Director General, Kano State own Television, Abubakar Rimi Television (ARTV) also called for more of such training.

Also, the General Manager of Vision FM Kano, Adamu Ladan highlighted some measures that will help participants to protect themselves from contracting the virus.

According to him, “Media professionals need to look back at past disasters and provide background information through research and draw lessons from other news rooms, governments and so forth to be able to learn from them.

“Media professionals need to be educated to be able to educate others, for that reason a high level of professionalism needs to be put in place for the desired goals to be achieved.” he said.

In his address, the NUJ chairman, Abbas Ibrahim said “there is no better time than now when the world is battling the coronavirus pandemic and Nigeria is not an exception.”

According to him, “the media needs to be equipped with the knowledge of how to shape reportage for the desired goals of disseminating reliable information to be achieved and do away with the spread of fake news in this trying times”.

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