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Take over COVID-19 response from Ganduje before it is too late–Kwankwaso warns Buhari

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Rabiu Kwankwaso

Nazifi Dawud

A former governor of Kano state, Rabiu Kwankwaso has warned President Muhammadu Buhari to take control of the COVID-19 rapid response from the Kano state government before the disease overwhelms the state.

Mr Kwankwaso, issued the warning in a lengthy letter addressed to the President and obtained by KANO FOCUS on Monday.

Expressing concern over surging deaths, especially of elderly people in the state, the former governor complained no investigation was conducted to ascertain the alarming rate of deaths.

“Hundreds of funerals have been recorded in all the cemeteries of the eight metropolitan local governments alone.

“Looking at the pattern elsewhere in the world where senior citizens with preexisting conditions were the main fatalities of the novel coronavirus, we are concerned that the inability to conduct tests in the state to determine the status of these senior citizens might be responsible for their death,” he wrote.

Mr Kwankwaso further lamented that the Kano state government under Abdullahi Ganduje, has no active COVID-19 response team, adding that the committee handling the disease is led by “unqualified and incompetent” team.

“What was hitherto, working as a covid-19 committee was a contraption of cronies that are both unqualified and incompetent. As such they kowtow to the whims of politicians without any regards to professional healthcare considerations.

“The committee technically disbanded itself when majority of the members were tested positive for Covid-19.

“I should inform Mr. President that since the announcement of the positive results of the members of the committee, no test was ever conducted in the entire state again.

“This is very frightening as neither asymptomatic nor active cases are being identified and isolated, as such carriers of this dreaded virus are all about and spreading it and causing untimely death of especially our senior citizens,” the ex-governor said.

Read the full letter below:

Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso writes Buhari:

His Excellency
President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR
President Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces Federal Republic of Nigeria
Aso Rock Villa, State House, Abuja.

COVID-19 AND THE RISING INCIDENCES OF MYSTEROUS DEATHS IN KANO STATE: A CALL ON THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FOR URGENT ACTION TO SAVE LIVES

May I start by conveying my heartfelt condolence over the death of 32 Nigerians including Mr. President’s Chief of Staff, Malam Abba Kyari following their infection with the deadly coronavirus; may the souls of our departed countrymen rest in peace and may those who are tested positive for coronavirus have a speedy recovery.

Mr. President, I feel obliged to write this letter to you for five reasons: one is the very scary rise in the number of people that are mysteriously dying in Kano every day since the commencement of the fight against Covid-19 and the eventual lockdown of the state; two is the uncoordinated and unprofessional manner in which the fight against the disease in Kano state is being waged and the attendant and unprecedented mistrust of the government by the governed; three is the near absence of cooperation and coordination between the state and the federal government on the covid-19 response; four is the frightening reality of the tendency of the present health emergency (which has already placed unbearable financial burden on both the citizens and the nation) to metamorphose into a security emergency; and five, is to offer some suggestions in the overall interest of the good people of Kano State and the success of the national effort against the covid-19 pandemic.

Permit me Mr. President to draw your attention to the spike in mystery deaths among the aged population in Kano State in the last couple of weeks. Hundreds of funerals have been recorded in all the cemeteries of the eight metropolitan local governments alone. Looking at the pattern elsewhere in the world where senior citizens with preexisting conditions were the main fatalities of the novel coronavirus, we are concerned that the inability to conduct tests in the state to determine the status of these senior citizens might be responsible for their death. We are even more concerned that if sincere and efficient machinery is not urgently put in place to understand and mitigate against this, more lives of innocent senior citizens will be lost.

At present, and to all intent and purposes, the state has practically no Covid-19 response committee. What was hitherto, working as a covid-19 committee was a contraption of cronies that are both unqualified and incompetent. As such they kowtow to the whims of politicians without any regards to professional healthcare considerations. The committee technically disbanded itself when majority of the members were tested positive for Covid-19. I should inform Mr. President that since the announcement of the positive results of the members of the committee, no test was ever conducted in the entire state again. This is very frightening as neither asymptomatic nor active cases are being identified and isolated, as such carriers of this dreaded virus are all about and spreading it and causing untimely death of especially our senior citizens. The stoppage of the tests coupled with series of revelations from within the isolation centre in Kano together with the state persistence in asking for financial assistance from the central government has deepened the already existing mistrust of the government by the governed. This lack of trust seriously jeopardizes the battle against coronavirus especially if it were to be led by the state.

Mr. President in times of crisis like this, we require a robust and unifying leadership that will assure the citizens that it understands and shares its concerns; but unfortunately, the State Government is even denying that there is an unusual surge in the number of deaths in the state. This denial has also cultivated mistrust and doubt on the part of the citizens as the state government have failed to provide the desired leadership required at a critical time like this.

Mr. President everywhere in the world, the fight against pandemic is being spearheaded and superintended by central governments. The W.H.O. and such other global bodies, for example, have no business liaising with states on matters of global pandemic. But right from the first recorded case in Kano, the state government was in a tug of war with the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the federal agency vested with the responsibility of coordinating the fight against the disease. This is very counter-productive to the people of the state and a serious impediment to the success of the nation in the fight against the disease. Especially given the fact that as at today, the NCDC COVID-19 test centre at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH) has closed down ‘due to lack of reagents’.

Kano is the most populous state in the country and Kano city is one of the biggest in Africa. Experts have expressed concern that if the Kano situation is not handled professionally, sincerely, efficiently and competently, we have the tendency of becoming the epicenter of this disease in Africa in a matter of months. Every sincere leader should be concerned about this. Everything that ought to have been in place: from advocacy and awareness campaign to sensitize the public, to the provision of support (material, medical and emotional) to the citizens is conspicuously absent in Kano. Mr. President, in a state like Kano where large majority of its inhabitants earned their living from the informal sector and where big chunk of its citizens live below poverty line, there is no gainsaying that sustaining the lockdown in Kano demands that people are not left hungry. Any support in this regard should not be made on partisan basis. At the moment, the state government palliatives are being distributed based on political patronage (4 persons in each polling unit of 500 persons). This is grossly inadequate. A hungry and angry population cannot be kept in lockdown for too long!

Mr. President, these concerns are what prompted me to write to you to proffer some suggestions that might go a long way to help in the fight against the virus in Kano State. It is my prayer that Mr. President consider the following:

1. The situation in the state should not be seen by Mr. President as a state government matter that should be left to the state. The lives of tens of millions of Nigerians living in Kano state is at stake, as such the central government should be seen to be actively involved in caring for, and saving their lives. There is need for empathy;

2. The federal government should take over the responsibility of rapid response on coronavirus in the state;

3. The State Government should be made to constitute a proper State Taskforce on COVID-19 with members selected base on their professionalism and competence;

4. At least five additional test centres should be established with 10 other sample collection centres across the State;

5. The Taskforce should designate trained medical personnel in all cemeteries across the state that will collect records of all deaths. While another team of medical personnel follow up with inquiry of the cause of death. Furthermore, those that attended to the sick and those that prepared the dead body for burial should also be identified, isolated and contact traced for testing;

6. Since it is undeniable that there is a spike in the number of death and it is probable that these deaths are either as a result of COVID-19 or some other illness, the State Government and citizens should treat and consider all deaths as if it is caused by the virus; therefore all protocols as advised by medical experts be observed whenever death occurs;

7. An independent Federal Government team of experts should be mandated to investigate the rise in cases of death in the elderly population across the State;

8. Palliatives should be generous and general. The virus does not belong to any political party just as hunger and poverty are not partisan.

Your Excellency, while commending Nigerians for their support to, and cooperation with the fight against the pandemic; we appreciate the sacrifices of our health workers and other frontline personnel providing other essential services. Let me also express my gratitude to numerous well-meaning Nigerians who are making enormous sacrifices with their wealth, skills and know how. Mr. President these concerns boarder on matters of life and death.

The time to act on the Kano situation is now.

Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Long Live Kano State

Sincerely,

Signed
Sen. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso

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Kwankwaso left over N50bn liability for LGs 5km projects – Kano Govt

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Rabiu Kwankwaso

Nasiru Yusuf

Kano state government said the administration of former Governor Rabi’u Kwankwaso left a liability of N54, 408, 259, 638.05 billion for the five kilometre road projects across the 44 local government areas of the state.

Kano Focus reports that the state commissioner for Information, Muhammad Garba dropped the hint on Sunday while addressing newsmen on the outcome of the state Executive Council Meeting held at the Africa House, Government House, Kano.

He said the council received the report of the Technical Committee to assess the 5 km road projects all of which were awarded by the previous administration under the defunct Ministry of Land and Physical Planning with the state Urban Planning and Development Authority (KNUPDA) as supervising agency.

Mr Garba said the committee visited 39 local governments where its detailed report indicated awarded contract sum for the projects, present site conditions, value of executed works, amount certified and amount released for the projects.

The commissioner pointed out that 5km projects in three local governments were revoked and rewarded due to non-performance in Warawa, Ungogo and Dawakin Tofa, while some portions of the projects in Tsanyawa and Bichi along Kano-Katsina road were released to the federal ministry of works and housing based on request from the federal government.

He said other three projects in Rimin Gado, Karaye and Bunkure local government that fall within main arterial highway were expunged from the main project and re-awarded separately for execution, while metropolitan local governments of Dala, Nassarawa, Gwale, Municipal and Tarauni were allotted various projects within the municipality as 5km projects.

Mr Garba pointed out that the council has approved the release of N607, 124, 663.47 million for the rehabilitation of Rimin Gado-Sabon Fegi-Jilli-Gulu road in Rimin Gado local government.

The commissioner stated that approval has also been given by the council for the conversion of the existing School of Post Basic Midwifery Gezawa to the status of School of Nursing Gezawa to broaden the platform for training of more qualified midwives in order to reduce maternal and infant morbidity and mortality in the state.

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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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