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

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Coronavirus

CONCERNED CITIZENS OF KANO STATE
08066313762, 08030772400
sanidanjuma2012@gmail.com

3rd April, 2020

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

Sir,

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.

Opinion

Childhood killer diseases: NGO gets $29m grants to reach 1m caregivers

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An International Non-Governmental Organization, New Incentive, said it has received a grant of $29 million under it project – All Babies Are Equal targeted to reach over one million caregivers and immunize their infants against childhood killer diseases in four Northwest States .

Kano Focus reports that the four Northern states are Katsina, Jigawa, Zamfara and Sokoto.

These childhood killer diseases include, tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type B, pneumococcal disease and measles.

The Stakeholder Relations Director, of the NGO Nura Muhammad disclosed this at a stakeholders meeting with the benefiting states held in Kano.

Muhammad said the grant would be disbursed as conditional cash transfer to support the caregivers to ensure they avail their infants for the Immunization.

He said, “New Incentive – All Babies Are Equal, NI-ABAE has received commitments of over $29 million of funding over the next 3 years to reach over 1 million caregivers and their infants in Jigawa, Katsina, Zamfara, and Sokoto States.

This covers expansion to 35 LGAs with continued operations through Dec 2023.

“The organization aims to reduce child mortality through cost-effective and evidence-based health interventions.

In Nigeria, the organization operates as the All Babies Are Equal Initiative and implements the conditional cash transfers (CCT) for routine immunization (CCTs for RI) program.

“The flagship CCTs for RI program operated by ABAE disburses cash incentives to caregivers conditional on infants receiving four vaccines: BCG (against tuberculosis), PENTA (against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b), PCV (against pneumococcal disease), and MCV (against measles).

These vaccinations are part of the routine schedule for infant immunizations in Nigeria and are provided at no cost to the caregiver through government-supported clinics.

Upon confirmation of their infant receiving a vaccine, the caregiver receives ₦500 for the first four routine immunization visits and ₦2,000 for the fifth visit.

“The cash transfers compensate for transport, lost trading income, and waiting time while creating behavioural change through awareness of routine immunizations.

“The CCTs for RI Program has been implemented in the states of Katsina, Zamfara, 2017 while Jigawa in 2018.

To date, the program has enrolled over 390,000 infants whose caregivers have received over 1 billion naira in conditional cash transfers.

An independent impact assessment of NI-ABAE’s CCTs for RI program (2017 – 2020) found that the program increases the likelihood that children would be fully immunized by 27 percentage points, and increases rates of individual vaccinations by 14 to 21 percentage points.

Beyond vaccination, the assessment found that the program contributed to improved knowledge about vaccination among caregivers in the catchment areas served by the program.

“Immunization is one of the most effective public health interventions, saving 2 to 3 million lives yearly (WHO) and there is evidence that suggests a 27 percentage points increase in the likelihood that children would be fully immunized by a conditional cash transfers for routine immunization program (NI-ABAE RCT Impact Assessment 2017-2020),” the Stakeholder Relations Director, Nura Muhammad however said.

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Opinion

Meet Abdul: The most talented Dabo Babies player of all time

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Picking out the footballing stars of the future is a tricky task.

There are so many factors which could hinder the progression of even the most professional of teenagers.

But some do seem destined to reach the top, while others display a work ethic that’s even greater than the natural talent at their disposal.

The second paragraph could be the case with Dabo Babies talented, 19-year-old forward Abdul Attacker.

He burst onto the scene when he was playing for a local club, Golden Bullet and was snapped up by famous Dabo Babes FC after the departure of former Nigeria U-20 star, Nazifi Yahaya.

And has since caught the attention of football enthusiast across the country with his brilliant display for Dabo Babes.

Abdul tormented four-time Nigeria Professional Football League Champions, Kano Pillars FC after he scored twice against the Sai Masu Gida in a friendly match before the kickoff of the second stanza of the just concluded 2020/2021 Nigeria Professional Football League season (NPFL).

He was the catalyst to Dabo Babes good run to the Kano state Tofa Premier League title driving the famous academy from game to game until they reach the final.

The dazzling forward produces mouthwatering display to earn himself accolades from the Pen Profession who could not hide their love for the next Super Star during the Tofa Premier League final.

He likes his game to that of Real Madrid forward, Karim Benzema and Bayern Munich deadly striker, Robert Lewandowski.

The 19-year-old’s talent and versatility has some people wondering whether he could be a bolster for the Nigeria National U-20 team, the Flying Eagles for their upcoming assignments.

As preparations for the 2020/21 Nigeria Professional Football League season gearing towards climax, many top clubs are interested in snapping him to bolster their squad as well as few other European top teams.

He has scored 55 goals and provided further 22 assists for Dabo Babes in less than three and a half years.

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Opinion

Lamido, Jega celebrate NEPU @ 71 

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Aminu Kano

Dr. Nuruddeen Muhammad 

Yesterday, Sunday, the 8th of August, 2021, I accompanied His Excellency Dr Sule Lamido  (CON) who was the speaker at a symposium organised by the Aminu Kano Centre for Democratic Studies, Bayero University Kano (Mambayya House) to commemorate the 71st anniversary of the founding of the Northern Elements Progressives Union (NEPU), with the theme; ‘Politics of Principles and the Phenomenon of Political Party Defections in Nigeria’.

Sule Lamido

The event which held under the distinguished chairmanship of the cerebral Dr. Tijjani Muhammad Naniya, also had the ebullient Dr. Auwalu Anwar as the sole discussant. While Professor Attahiru Jega, Professor Dandatti Abdulkadir, Dr. Akilu Sani Indabawa, Professor Hafiz Abubakar, Professor Sule Bello, Dr. Nasir Fagge, former NEPU/PRP regional, federal and state parliamentarians, women and youth leaders from across the country, notably Kano, Jigawa, Katsina and Kaduna States all ran incisive commentaries.

Prof. Dandatti Abdulkadir

The cacophony of voices were as fierce as they were sharply different in tone, content and delivery. But by far, that which stood out and generated most responses was Dr Lamido’s lead assertion that the raison d’etre for the NEPU/PRP ideological and political initiatives was to liberate the common folks (the Talakawas), first from the clutches of the combined reppression of the colonial overloads and their willing surrogates in the Native Authority establishments in Northern Nigeria, and the restrictions placed on them in political participation, aspirations and freedoms.

He forcefully argued that the movements have achieved on both counts as the children of yesterday’s Talakawas are today the new overloads and oppressors who deny their fellow Talakawas quality leadership as presidents, governors, parliamentarians, ministers, council chairmen and their councils. He concluded that the movements (atleast as organised political actions) should rest and cease to exist. And that today’s progressives should instead leverage around available political opportunities/platforms to confront the existing selfish order using present day political sentiments and realities as mobilization tools.

Prof. Hafiz Abubakar

But recalling copiously from memory, the lead speaker canvassed for an ideological graft transplant from the NEPU/PRP days in ways that the moral and ethical characters of both politics and governance of today can benefit from the sound value systems of old oder.

He narrated how he first resigned as a member of the House of Representatives in Lagos in 1983 purely on moral grounds, and then flew to Kano to convince the then Governor Alhaji Abubakar Rimi to do same as the governor of the old Kano State when the duo defected from the People’s Redemption Party (PRP) that gave them the mandates in the first place.

He then described the present phenomenon of political party defections in Nigeria as the worst form of corruption.

This profound submission drew a symphony of responses from today’s PRP practitioners who are mostly academics. Leading the park was Professor Attahiru Jega who argued that without justice in leadership and the level of impunity as is the case today, the NEPU/PRP cause has just begun and asked Sule Lamido to come lead the national onslaught.

Many other PhDs and Professors joined in the call that Lamido would later say lacked sufficient local and broader national political insight. It is significant to note that I was to totally align myself with the Sule Lamido’s perspective of the argument only yesterday, having engaged with him for over a decade on the same exact topic as the Jegas had done yesterday at Mambayya.

I am now fully convinced that the NEPU/PRP politics exclusively represented yesterday’s political sentiments and realities in the North with no much utility for either our present political and social circumstances or broader national appeal.

Sule Lamido, Dr Nuruddeen Muhammad and other guests

The Mambayya rendezvous is prehaps the only remaining theatre in Nigeria where political practitioners, activists and ideologues meet political researchers, theorists and even wannabees in a real time intellectual brawl. Bayero University Kano is both creative and thoughful in this annual ritual. Mallam Aminu Kano and his comrades had lived a very politically active, intellectually robust, and ideologically/philosophically sound lives to deserve this honour.

When academic excellence and classroom sense meet self taught philosophers and the practical hands on the streets, a cetain unique flavour emerges. Yesterday’s flavor has unfortunately left a distinctively sour test in my mouth. The fact that the Talaka is today his very own oppressor is a very bitter pill for some of us to swallow. And even more bitter is the second fact that the second on coming liberation of the Talakawas (from themselves this time around) will have to invent it’s devices with no NEPU/PRP emotional relic to rely on.

This, on a very personal note, was a befitting way to round off my three weeks extended sallah visit in Jigawa.

Dr. Muhammad was Nigeria’s former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs & Federal Minister of Information as

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