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No COVID-19 case in Kano–Gov’t

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Nazifi Dawud

The Kano state government has debunked claims circulating on social networks that two cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus have been recorded in the state.

KANO FOCUS reports that some fake social media accounts bearing the logos of the BBC and CNN had claimed on Sunday that two students of Bayero University, Kano (BUK) had tested positive to the COVID-19.

But in a statement sent to KANO FOCUS, the state Ministry of Health dismissed the information as false.

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“The news is indeed untrue, false and nothing but a white lie by mischief makers intended to cause panic in the state.

“To make the record straight, there was never at any point in time since the recorded outbreak of the disease in the country when Kano State had any confirmed case of Covid-19,” read the statement, signed by Hadiza M. Namadi, Information Officer of the Health Ministry.

“The Commissioner of Health, Dr. Aminu Ibrahim Tsanyawa, therefore urged all concerned organizations, groups, individuals and the general public to disregard the news as just a lie, fake and unfounded rumour being circulated with an intent to cause panic among the general public.

“The commissioner however advised people to take precautionary measures against the disease including regular hand washing social distancing and report any suspected case to the nearest health facility,” it added.

BUK also dismisses COVID-19 rumours

The management of BUK also described as “fake news”, the reported case of COVID-19 in the university.

“We wish to state unequivocally clear that, there has never been a case of Corona virus in the University whatsoever.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the University was shut down since Friday, 20th March, 2020 in line with the directives by the Federal Ministry of Education and all students have already vacated the hostel of residence.

“We therefore, appeal to members of the general public to kindly disregard the purported news in respect of the emergence of Corona Virus in Bayero University and should consider such information as fake, unfounded and maliciously concocted.

“We are particularly disturbed that some heartless individuals will fabricate fake news using a screen short of a reputable news organization knowing that it will cause panic not only within the University, but within the Kano environment and beyond.

“The Management had taken all necessary measures to protect all members of the University community (staff and students) from the dreaded COVID19; Bayero University is safe and free from the virus,” the university said in a statement signed by Lamara Garba, Secretary Information and Publication.

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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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