As Nigerians continue to speculate over the sudden deaths of various prominent Kano State residents between Friday and Saturday, many are also worried over the silence of the relevant government agencies, especially the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Kano state governor, Abdullahi Ganduje.
Various social media reports on Saturday indicated that at least 23 persons, including high profile kano residents died with 24 hours.
The controversy began after a voice note of a woman, who was said to have lost her son-in-law to COVID-19 under questionable circumstances, had gone viral.
The woman who identified herself as Hajiya Salma Ahmed had claimed that after calling many times to get the NCDC Kano’s attention for her ailing son-in-law, a regional manager at First Bank, who fell ill last Friday, she was informed that by the NCDC Abuja that the Kano office had closed.
Things came to a head on Saturday when different kano-based Social Media Users, began reporting deaths of several prominent residents of the state on their platforms.
Among the reportedly dead are: Prof. Ibrahim Ayagi, CEO of Hassan Gwarzo, Alhaji Dahiru Rabiu, former Grand Khadi, Dr. Musa Umar Gwarzo, Mallam Musa Tijjani, a former editor at Leadership Newspapers, Alhaji Adamu Isyaku, a former SUBEB executive secretary, Alhaji Salisu Lado, Hajia Shamsiyya Mustapha and Hajia Nene Umma.
Others are; Alhaji Garba Sarki Fagge, Dr. Nasiru Maikano Bichi Secretary, Student Affairs of NWU, Professor Aliyu Umar Dikko of the Physiology department BUK, Abdullahi Lawal, First Bank Regional Manager, Alhaji Rabiu Dambatta and Kabiru Ibrahim Bayero
While the Kano State Ministry of Health refuted Hajiya Ahmed’s narrative when The Interview reached out to its call centre, investigations by our correspondent revealed that indeed the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) from which the NCDC and the Kano State COVID-19 Taskforce were operating was shut down after the facility was compromised.
According to a source who spoke to The Interview anonymously because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, after several members of the committee tested positive to the virus, the centre became compromised and they had to shut it down.
The source, however, noted that tests were still being conducted only that they were now sending the samples to Abuja.
The source also explained that that was the reason Kano State did not have any confirmed cases in the NCDC update for two days, as the samples had to be taken to Abuja first.
“The problem is that the state government is not addressing the citizens and residents so that they understand what is going on. Our people are still moving all over the place, and it’s very frustrating,” the source added.
When The Interview reached out to the call Centre of the Kano State health ministry, Hussain Abubakar who spoke to our correspondent also admitted that the testing centre had indeed been closed but was reopened on Saturday, April 25.
While he denied initially that that Hajiya Ahmed’s calls were not received, he later said, “At the time she called, the Centre was being fumigated,”
He also noted that the centre was closed so it could be disinfected because some officials there had tested positive.
Abubakar, however, could not confirm whether a response team had visited the family of the deceased to take blood samples for testing.
He only said, ‘they cannot just be evacuated to the isolation centre. The have to be tested first. Right now, they are in self-isolation in their home.”
The Interview made several calls to Hajiya Ahmed’s phone on Saturday evening and Sunday morning, to find out if her daughter and grandchildren had now been tested, but the calls were not answered.