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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

Headlines

TCN creates Kano transmission region

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Nasiru Yusuf

THE Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has carved out a new Kano transmission region from the old Kaduna Region. 

KANO FOCUS reports that the newly established unit brings the number of TCN regional centres to 10.

The TCN believes the step will improve commercial activities in the state.

A statement issued by TCN General manager of Public Affairs Ndidi Mbah explained that the creation of the Kano Transmission Region became necessary owing to the rapid economic and industrial development being witnessed within Kano State and its environs, as well as the gradual implementation of TCN’s strategic ‘Nigerian Electricity Grid Maintenance, Expansion and Rehabilitation Programme (NEGMERP),’ which has enabled the transmission company to complete some ongoing projects and increase the number of substations within that axis.

He said the  Kano Transmission Region had, under its supervision, one sub-regional office and several work centers, all housing 13 transmission substations (TS), including the Kumbotso TS, Dan Agundi TS, Dakata TS, Tamburawa TS, Kwanar Dangora TS, Wudil TS, Kankia TS, Katsina TS, Daura TS, Dutse TS, Hadejia TS, Azare TS, and Gagarawa TS.

The new Kano region currently according to the statement has ongoing transmission substation projects which when completed would further increase bulk transmission capacity in the new region.

The new Kano Transmission Region, the company said, would deepen operational efficiency within the region and enable its engineers to readily access and resolve technical issues within the new region.

Mbah explained that prior to the creation of the new Kano Region, major decisions had to be referred to Kaduna Region for directives, and the supply of materials was sometimes delayed due to logistic issues from Kaduna.

Mbah noted that the proximity of the new region would radically reduce downtime and eliminate time lost when materials had to be conveyed from the Kaduna Region.

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Headlines

DSS arrests singer accuse of blasphemy

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Nasiru Yusuf

The Department of State Services have arrested another blasphemous singer, Ahmad Abdul, whose song was perceived to create chaos in Kano state.

KANO FOCUS reports that the Singer Ahmad Abdul was detained by the DSS because his free movement may likely cause violence reaction from Kano residents.

While in detention, Mr Abdul tender apology to entire Muslims, Kano state government and Islamic Scholars.

He told DSS operatives that he never thought that the song has violated Islamic teachings.

Commenting while witnessing the bail condition granted to Mr Abdul at the DSS Headquarters, Kano, the Executive Secretary of the Kano state Censorship Board Ismaila Naaba Afakallah recalled that he had received hundreds of petitions against the song from concerned citizens.

Afakallah said having realized the gravity of the song’s blasphemy, he reported the singer to DSS who swung into action and arrested him at a Hotel where he was hiding for days.

Mr Abdul Father, Abdullahi Isa thanked the DSS for their timely response on the matter which saved possible outbreak of law and order.

Also in August last year, An upper Sharia court in the Hausawa Filin Hockey area of the state has found one Yahaya Sharif-Aminu guilty of committing blasphemy for a song he circulated via WhatsApp.

However, the appellate division of the High Court of Kano State had on January 21 quashed the death sentence passed on Mr Sharif-Aminu and freed him.

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I’ll not run for President – Muhammadu Sanusi II

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Deposed Emir Sanusi

Mukhtar Yahya Usman

The deposed Emir of Kano Malam Muhammadu Sunusi II says he is not interested in contesting for the presidency of Nigeria.

Kano Focus reports that Mr Sunusi revealed this at a Tijjnaniyya zikir held in Abuja on Thursday.

Muhammadu Sanusi said his current position as Tijjaniyya Khalifa in Nigeria is superior to the presidency.

The deposed Emir however said he is ready to help those he believe in their competence to win elections without his participation in politics.

“If we trust a candidate is out to serve the people, we will come out and help them.

“That is not joining politics but a civic duty to the nation and its citizens” Mr. Sanusi said.

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