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Kano city is now the killing field of COVID-19 pandemic in Africa–Prof. Yusuf

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By Prof. Usman Yusuf

25th April 2020

I raised alarm in an article I wrote which was published in the Daily Trust Newspaper (page 6) on April 22nd, 2020 on how COVID-19 was ravaging Kano city. I opined that if urgent action was not taken by the Federal Government, the city could become the epicenter of the virus on the African continent. Recognizing the disastrous consequences of such a scenario, I offered recommendations that could help stem the slide.

Today, I raise my voice again, this time to join the growing chorus of people both within and outside the State who are horrified by Kano State Government’s (KNSG) cavalier response to this pandemic seeing it as a growing danger to the lives of people in Kano, its neighbors and also a threat to our National Security.

Nigeria as a nation needs to wake up to the ever-present danger of the cascading domino effect of COVID-19 infection in Kano spreading to the Northwest zone, the Northwest zone infects the rest of the North, the North infects the whole nation, Nigeria infects the West African subregion, which then infects the rest of Africa, thereby destabilizing the whole continent.

A heart-breaking audio clip making rounds on social media of a grieving grandmother who had just lost her son-in-law to COVID-19 in Kano city sums up the feeling of helplessness of people in the city. She was venting her frustrations at NCDC officials in Kano who switched off their phones and those at their HQ. in Abuja that refused to return her calls when she desperately needed them. She narrated how her son-in-law was initially taken to a Private Hospital then transferred to Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH) where he died shortly after arrival.

It is now common knowledge in Kano that NCDC officials in the city are not responding to people’s distress calls because they are short-staffed and have no working materials or Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This unacceptable situation has resulted in many of them being infected by the virus, resulting in the closure of the only test center in Kano.

Below is an example of one of the many distress calls and text messages I have been receiving from unknown Kano residents:

“Good afternoon Prof., 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.”

There are also reliable reports indicating that cemetery workers in the city have been censored and directed by State officials not to give any interviews divulging the number of burials.
The Kano State Government (KNSG) is clearly downplaying and denying these deaths just like officials in Wuhan, China did at the beginning of the pandemic. In fact, the Governor appeared on Channels TV, spouting these denials while in the same breath asking for N15b aid from the Federal Government. The next day, his Commissioner of Health appeared on the same Station stating it was just 640 deaths in six days. Kano State, in spite of its population density, is the most notorious state where social distancing measures are least enforced and obeyed, with youths still playing football while gatherings in mosques and weddings continue as if all is well.

As a result of his negligence, Gov. Ganduje is also exporting COVID-19 to the neighboring states of Katsina and Jigawa by repatriating hundreds of Almajiris who are most likely infected by COVID-19 to their States of origin. This, in my opinion, was a very thoughtless and dangerous action.

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.

I urge all sons and daughters of Kano wherever you are, to step up and raise your voices to save your people from this catastrophe, silence is not an option at this defining moment.

Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje must bear full responsibility before man and God Almighty for the chaos that is costing the lives of so many souls which is simply a reflection of his poor leadership, incompetence, corruption, and lack of compassion for his people.

The Federal Government needs to urgently step in to stem the rising death count before it is too late.

In summary

(a). COVID-19 death toll is undeniably rising daily in Kano

(b). KNSG lacks the will, capacity, compassion, transparency, or the trust of its people to arrest the situation

(c). KNSG is in denial and doing all in its power to hide these deaths.

(d). Healthcare workers in Kano are in mortal danger without PPE.

(e). Private Hospitals are shutting down due to fear of infecting their staff and for lack of capacity to deal with COVID-19 patients.

(f). Government hospitals are increasingly getting overwhelmed with poor staffing, lack of PPE, drugs, consumables, bed spaces, or ventilators.

(g). The only COVID-19 Testing Centre in Kano has now been shut down, leaving millions of people in the whole NW zone without access to testing.

(h). People are living in fear, uncertainty, anger, frustration, and feel abandoned by both the state and federal governments.

(i). Concerns about social unrest are real and should be taken seriously by both the State and Federal governments.

Recommendations

(I). Immediate and forceful Federal presence in Kano.

(ii). The Presidential Task Force should relocate to Kano and make it its new theatre of operation reporting to the President.

(iii). People should immediately be provided with food supplies to enable humane but strict enforcement of total lockdown, which remains the only way of breaking the spread of the virus.

(iv). The President should address the Nation on these deaths with specific plans on what the FGN will do.

(v). NCDC lab in Kano should immediately be opened with increased testing capacity.

(vi). Healthcare workers should immediately be provided with PPE.

(vii). Hospitals need drugs, consumables, ICU spaces, and ventilators.

(viii). All Deaths and infections from COVID-19 should be properly recorded.

(ix). Swabs should be taken for the COVID-19 test from all corpses to enable proper mapping of the spread of the virus and the protection of contacts.

(x). Recruit an Army of Contact Tracers from local Nurses and Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWS) to help in tracing contacts.

(xi). Engage Traditional, Religious, and Community leaders (xii). Aggressive public education campaign

Usman Yusuf is a Professor of Haematology-Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation.

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Kano domesticate social protection policy

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Abdullahi Ganduje

Nasiru Yusuf

Kano state governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has approved the domestication of National social protection policy in the state.

Kano Focus reports that the Social Protection Policy is designed to show the commitment of the Government to the effective mobilisation and efficient utilisation of state resources to improve the quality of life of its citizens.

The state Commissioner of planning and budget Nura Muhammad Dankadai revealed this on Friday at a one day interactive session with with journalists and civil society organizations.

Alhaji Nura Muhammad Dankadai

Mr Dankadai said governor Ganduje approved the domestication of the policy on Thursday.

According to him when domesticated the policy will provide legal framework for school feeding programme, ante natal and post natal care, addressing gender based violence and protecting people living with disabilities.

On the meeting with journalists, Mr Dankadai said it was aimed at intimating them with on the state government’s projects and received some inputs for possible submission to the government.

The commissioner uses the opportunity to appeal to civil society organizations and journalists to sensitise people on the current economic challenges which made it difficult for the state to pay workers salary for the month of March.

In their separate contributions Akibu Hamisu, I. G Maryam and Wali Ado Rano advised Kano state government on the need to address multiple taxation, grant local government financial autonomy and holding periodic interactive session with CSOs and journalists.

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AKTH honours NCC Boss UG Danbatta

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Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, being presented with an appreciation award by Prof. Abdulrahman Sheshe, Chief Medical Director, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH), Kano, during the courtesy visit.

Nasiru Yusuf

 

The management of Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital has visited the Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communication Commission Umar Garba Danbatta.

Kano Focus reports that during the visit the AKTH team also presented an award to Danbatta as an expression of the hospital’s appreciation for the enormous contributions of the EVC and the Commission to the development of health institutions over the years in the country.

Speaking during the visit, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of AKTH, Abdulrahman Sheshe, who led the delegation on the courtesy call, said, “the objective of our being here today is to appreciate your contribution in person and as EVC of NCC to the growth and development of the teaching hospital.”

According to Sheshe, through the support and donations from Kano people like the EVC and institutions like NCC, the hospital has increased its bed capacity from 250 to 700, as well as performing 57 successful transplant surgeries.

“You have also made enormous contributions in this regard and that has helped us to get new dialysis machines through your assistance and these machines are being put to use, aside from other state-of-the-art equipment already in place,” he said while appreciating the EVC.

The CMD, however, sought NCC’s support in the area of a Health Information Management System (HIMS) and digital capacity for staff.

Responding, however, Danbatta thanked the hospital management for the visit and the award, noting that the Commission supports federal institutions with necessary ICT equipment across the country and is ready to assist AKTH in this regard.

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta

“As a Commission, we are working to bridge the infrastructure divide, which is an element of the entire digital ecosystem. We do this via a lot of ongoing regulatory initiatives. And, through our training arm, Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), we provide digital literacy to critical sectors of the economy, including the health sector, we also intervene through our Advanced Digital Appreciation Programme,” he said.

According to Danbatta, digital divide can be bridged by making computers available and ICT services accessible to people and key sectors of the economy.

Danbatta (middle) flanked by top management committee of AKTH and NCC staff during the courtesy visit

“Infrastructure that can host this massive flow of information and knowledge is broadband infrastructure and this is top-most in the agenda of the Commission. Indeed, ICT is transforming every sector of the economy and the earlier we embrace the vast opportunity brought by ICT the better,” the EVC pointed out.

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Police arrest bandit who abduct his uncle for one million Naira ransom

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Abubakar Musa displaying the two AK-47 ripples

Nasiru Yusuf

 

 

 

Police in Kano said they have arrested a 27 year old Abubukar Musa who confessed to have abducted his uncle and received one million Naira ransom.

Kano Focus reports that the police spokesperson in Kano Abdullahi Kiyawa announced this in a video clip sent to journalists on Sunday.

He said the suspect was arrested with two AK 47 ripple suspected to be used for kidnapping and banditry.

Mr Kiyawa said preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect is among the bandits terrorizing some parts of Kano, Birnin Gwari in Kaduna state and some Northern states.

Mr Musa an indigine of Rurum village in Tudun Wada local government Kano state recalled how in the past abducted his uncle and collected one million Naira ransom before he release him.

The suspect also told police that he borrowed the guns found under his possession from Muhammadu Bakanoma in Zamfara state to confront another bandit called Malam at Birnin Gwari whom he accused with abducting his wife and daughter.

“I am a cattle rustler. I once abducted my uncle Alhaji Haruna and my cousin Bappan Jauro six years ago. These are the only two persons I have ever abducted. I abducted him (Alhaji Haruna) because his two children (Medi and Bappan Jauro) have kidnapped my younger sister Hafsat.

” I released him after receiving one million Naira ransom. We are now living with him (Alhaji Haruna( in the same compound,” Mr Musa said.

Mr Kiyawa said investigation is ongoing and will issue a statement when completed.

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