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COVID-19: Mysterious deaths in Kano and the way forward–An open letter to Kano PTF




08066313762, 08030772400

3rd April, 2020

The Chairman,
Presidential Task Force on COVID-19,
Kano Team,


Issues Surrounding The Mysterious Deaths In Kano and The Way Forward

The Concerned Citizens welcome the Special Envoy for COVID-19 as part of the presidential move, the UN and WHO 3000 medics for Kano Rescue Mission. While recognising your giant takeoff and coordinated approaches in this important assignment to check the spread of the COVID 19 and the mysterious deaths in the state, we like to share with your team the outcomes of our preliminary investigation surrounding the unprecedented disaster for speedy action.

1. The closure of specialty clinics in some health facilities and the fear of private hospitals to treat likely COVID-19 patients, have resulted in the increasing number of rejections of patients, who require urgent medical attention. The consequential effect of this leads to untimely death of some that are in critical condition.

2. The unofficial abscondment of frontline medics as evidenced by the small proportion in attendance and their shirking attitudes due to the shortage of protective gears have put immense pressure on the emergency Departments. This may likely increase the number of deaths in the state.

3. The panic and unknown fear due to Corona Virus, hot weather, crowd settlements and the resultant social disorder, stress and trauma as a result of lockdown aggravate the condition of those with underlying ailments thereby causing complications and eventual deaths.

4. Old age, waning immune system, poverty and poor nutrition may likely increase disease susceptibility and worsen the appalling condition battling good people in the state.

5. Increasing pressure on the incapacitated healthcare facilities, poor health system management and lack of comprehensive healthcare policy to cater the exploding population by the state might be part of the causes.

6. The earlier denial of reported spike in deaths, the jettisoning advices from experts and the reluctance of the Kano State Government for prompt action, might have upsurge the menace. Additionally, failure to plan for the anticipated lockdown may likely leads to deaths out of starvation, prostration and other diseases than the actual COVID-19.

For these reasons therefore, may we suggest the followings for effective response to slowdown the mortality rate in the state:

a. The team should advise the state to urgently strengthen the entire healthcare system within near-term with adequate provision of personal protective and other emergency equipment provided for first line contact that are necessary for life-saving response. Moreover, proper distribution, utilisation and restocking of interventions from FG, NGOs and philanthropists remain the needful. Also, free medical services to elderly vulnerable class will be of great help at this critical time to curve the menace.

b. Provision of insurance and incentives to the frontline personnel with their safety as utmost priority. It is also necessary for the state to employ temporary medics to augment the under-staffed health sector. In this regard, formation of special taskforce to ensure that patients are being attended effectively at public facilities will be an important step to deal with tragedy.

c. Of greater importance is for the state to introduce virtual medical consultation (e-consultation) by leveraging on retirees’ experience and minimise physical contact, thereby enjoying social distancing for those with pending follow-ups.

d. It would be good for your committee to draw the attention of the state to engage in systematic distribution of palliatives to the needy to cope with condition and fight hunger. This will make life easier within the lockdown period. However, the palliative arrangement should take cognisance the sheer number of masses in the state.

e. Religious leaders may have a role to play by capitalising on religious doctrine to guide people on how to live with pandemic. While recognising the current ongoing investigation regarding the cryptic deaths in the state, it would be good for the government to utilise traditional rulers to report deaths within their localities for wider coverage.

f. The most important intervention is to mobilise all the necessary resources to bring back our Emergency Departments into full scale operations. Because a simple analysis can show the relationship between increased mortality rate and closure of Accident and Emergency Departments.

g. Upon all these, measures have to be taken to revisit the lockdown policy while controlling the pandemic, would be an important direction to focus, since our economy may not survive the continuous lockdown.

Sir, as your committee and that of the state works seamless, it’s an opportunity for you to plan well and succeed. It is germane to accentuate the government to understand that, there is no important business in politics than responding to peoples’ demand.

Therefore, it is our belief that with the state limited resources, donations from individuals, groups and organisation, some of these recommendations can be executed.

With Kano in our mind, we hope the Chairman will expedite action and free the state from imbroglio.

Sincerely yours,
For: Concerned Citizens;

Dr. Yusuf Ibrahim Kofarmata (CSO)
Dr. Sani Danjuma (Academia)
Dr. Aisha Walida Baffa (MBBS)
Sheikh Tijjani Ahmad Sheikh Isa (Islamic Scholar)
Abdullahi Tasiu (Trader)
Adama Usman Esq.
Tahir Yakasai Esq.


Unusual signs may emerge on Laylatul Qadr – Alakarmawi



Sheikh Muhammad Nazifi Alkarmawi

Nasiru Yusuf

A renowned Islamic scholar in Kano Sheikh Muhammad Nazifi Alkarmawi said it is sometimes possible to witness unusual signs on Laylatul Qadr.

Kano Focus reports that Sheikh Alkarmawi revealed this while delivering his Friday sermon.

He said Laylatul Qadr is one of the most sacred nights in Islam found in the last ten days of Ramadan.

According to him it is sometimes possible to witness unusual signs on the night.

Some of the signs highlighted by the Imam is the night is serene, quiet and shining where the temperature is neither hot nor cold and the moon shines clearly.

Sheikh Alkarmawi said Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him used to double effort in the last ten days of Ramadan aimed at witnessing the night.

He described as a weak a narration wich declared twenty seventh night of Ramadan as Laylatul Qadr, and urged adherents to seek the night in the last ten days of the holy month.

On the recommended acts in the night, Sheikh Muhammad Nazifi Alkarmawi cited a hadith narrated by Nana Aisha which prophet taught Muslims to recite ‘Allahumma innaka afuwun, tuhibbul afwa, fa’afu anna.

He also admonished faithful on supplication, forgiveness, upholding good deeds and assisting the needy.

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Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu at 65



Professor Abdalla Adamu

By Ibrahim Sheme

On this day, April 25, the immediate past Vice-Chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu, clocked 65 years.

He was the VC of NOUN from 2016 to February 11, 2021. When his tenure ended, he returned to his former duty post at Bayero University, Kano, but then took sabbatical work as Visitor at Kaduna State University (KASU), Kaduna, on March 1, this year.

Born in Kano City on April 25, 1956, Adamu is unarguably one of the leading academic lights in Nigeria. He obtained a professorship each in Science Education and in Media and Cultural Communication, both from Bayero University, in 1997 and 2012 respectively. Indeed, he is one of very few academics in the country to have attained the feat of a double professorship.

Adamu is an international scholar, having taught media and science education courses in many Nigerian universities and around the world, including serving as a European Union Visiting Professor at University of Warsaw, Poland, in 2012, visiting professor, Rutgers University, New Jersey, and visiting professor, University of Florida in 2010. He was also Fulbright African Senior Research Scholar in 1991.

One other remarkable achievement he recorded was the development of ‘hooked’ Hausa language character font sets (ɓ Ɓ ɗ Ɗ ƙ Ƙ), which were not present at the advent of the Internet. The emergence of these fonts, which he created as part of his various extracurricular activities, has helped many authors, publishers, scholars, students and ordinary users in conveying the Hausa language in a way that it should be written.

Two years ago, on a day like this, I penned a birthday tribute to Professor Adamu to help celebrate his 63rd anniversary. In that write-up I did not dwell on his unfolding accomplishments at NOUN in the area of infrastructural development of the university because others had done so already. Instead, I emphasised on the then VC’s human relation, which I have always found unique. And I wrote: “On that score Prof. Abdalla has remained the same person I have known for about two decades – easy-going, humorous and understanding towards all. I think this essence is a great contributory factor to the achievements he is making as a leader and chief executive.

“His approachability is rare. I know chief executives who are ‘feared’ – and consequently loathed – by those working under them because of their stiffness and unbendability. Some, you strictly need an appointment to see them, and their secretaries become lords because they emulate the ‘man inside’.  Not Baba Prof (as we used to call him). He runs an open door policy, with a  secretary (Esther) just as approachable and nice as he is.

“Once you get into his office, you immediately feel at home. He has a joke for everyone. You will never find him mirthless or sad as if the whole world rests on his shoulders. If it is lunch-time, he offers you his food.

“That sense of humanity, for me, are as important as the infrastructure he is putting on ground at NOUN. That sensibility, plus the infrastructure and the policy transformation, will no doubt count as his best legacies when his tenure ends in February, 2021.”

I daresay many at NOUN would remember him for such virtue. Happily, his successor as VC, Professor Olufemi A. Peters, is another approachable chief executive who doesn’t put on airs. Even though the two men do not necessarily share the same character traits, one can say there are several points of convergence that one can easily point at – but that is a story for another day.

Meanwhile, I’d like to use this opportunity to wish Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu happy birthday and many happy returns.

Sheme is the Director, media and publicity at National Open University of Nigeria, Abuja

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Remembering Ja’afar Mahmud Adam



Na-Allah Mohammed Zagga

Sheikh Ja’afar foresaw the imminent monster called Boko Haram, but was brutally silenced by the assassins bullets!

Today marks the 14th Anniversary of the assassination  Sheikh Ja’afar Mahmud Adam, who was fatally shot by yet to be identified gunmen on April 13, 2007. His death was like a defoliation of the tallest tree in the forest of knowledge. He was one of the greatest preachers that ever lived; he was a scholar par excellence. In fact, he defies all the superlatives that you can ever find in  the dictionary.

Sheikh Ja’afar Mahmud Adam was not only famous for his erudition, but also for his amazing ability to foresee an imminent danger(what today becomes known as Boko Haram). He posed the most potent intellectual challenge to the outlandish and poisonous extremist ideas of Muhammad Yusuf, the notorious Boko Haram founder. He advised Yusuf, his former student, to renounce those dangerous ideas and apologize to his blind followers for misleading them.

Caught between ego and doing the right thing, Muhammad Yusuf rejected the advice because he didn’t want to lose face by admitting to his brainwashed followers that he was wrong. The rest is history. We are today paying heavily for his stubborn resistance to reason. His poisonous ideas have so deeply settled in the hearts and minds of his credulous Boko Haram  followers that they thought God is on their side and that  any Muslim  who opposes their violent extremism is automatically an infidel or an enemy.

Sheikh Ja’afar Mahmud Adam was thus vindicated; the grave danger he foresaw is now consuming us, destroying lives, schools and disrupting our social and economic life. Since 2009, more than 15,000 lives were destroyed by the Boko Haram terrorism. Because extremism paralyses a man’s capacity to think and reason, the terrorists are not even perturbed by the consequences of their atrocities, let alone give a moment’s thought to compassion and humanity.

I won’t challenge anyone who thinks Boko Haram had a hand in Adam’s death because putting two and two together, it is impossible not to reach that conclusion. Because of their extreme brutality, taking out a scholar who represented the greatest intellectual challenge to their poisonous ideas is not beyond them.

May the soul Adam continue to rest in peace! May Allah  forgive his shortcomings and eternally  reward his great deeds! Amin!

NOTE: I originally wrote this tribute to Sheikh Jafar Adam on April 13, 2018. As we mark the 14th Anniversary of his dastardly assassination today, I find it worthy to reproduce the tribute. He was an extraordinary scholar that deserves such honour.

Na-Allah Mohammed Zagga is a media consultant at Atiku media organization

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