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Citizens Resign To Fate As Kano Death Tolls Continue To Mount

While the Kano State Government continues to deny the rise in deaths in Kano, families have resigned themselves to fate and pray for divine intervention over increased mortalities among them.

Many of the dead are suspected to have been suffering from “strange” fever, typhoid or malaria.

Unlike in previous years when there were malaria outbreaks called “merger”, this time, “people complain that the drugs aren’t working for them,” said Abubakar Dan Habu, a pharmacist who owns a shop in Dala Local Government Area.

“Several people also complain of flu. Many of them have symptoms of common cold,” Habu said.

Asked whether he suspected COVID-19, he responded, “Yes, I do, even though no test is done to ascertain that.

“I try my best to protect myself. I regularly disinfect my shop, use face masks, and ask patients to use hand sanitizers.”

Abba Abubakar said his mother was fine two days before she died as she did not show signs of any illness before then.

“She asked me to hand her a bottle of water. After a few minutes, she stopped moving,” Abubakar said.

Musbahu said his uncle who was taken to the Emergency Unit of Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital, Kano, also died. He said doctors at the hospital rejected him because there was no bed space for him and he died a day after he was returned home.

“I have read about COVID-19 and I’m very sure that our uncle showed all the symptoms of the disease,” Musbahu said.

“I believe even the doctors were scared and that’s why they asked us to go back home,” he added.

“We called NCDC (Nigeria Centre for Disease Control) several times before we took him to the Emergency Unit but they didn’t respond to our calls,” Musbahu said.

When asked whether the family was quarantined after the death, Mushaba said: “We are already in lockdown and we aren’t meeting people until we get tested or develop symptoms of COVID-19.”

Meanwhile, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State described stories of mounting deaths in the state as fake news. “We are investigating it,” he said.

The governor said only 11 bodies were buried in one cemetery and not 150 as reported in the media.

Meanwhile, HumAngle witnessed five corpses being brought in for buried in Kuka-Bulukiya Cemetery early on Saturday morning. An eyewitness said that 20 corpses were buried in Dandolo Cemetery in one day.

While no autopsies are conducted to establish the cause of death, gravediggers and others involved in the burials do not use protective gear in spite of the increasing cases of COVID-19 in Kano State.

Families also continue to hold large funeral processions without heeding NCDC’s advice for social distancing in an effort to check the spread of COVID-19.

Kano State with 73 confirmed COVID-29 cases as at Friday is the third among 27 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, with the virus infection.

Nigeria has reported an exponential increase in COVID-19 infection last week with 1,025 cases and Kano has been linked to new infections in other states such as Plateau, Taraba and Gombe.

In those states, individuals who traveled to Kano State were reported to have imported the virus.

The Federal Government last week suspended operations at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, which is the only NCDC centre for COVID-19 testing because of insufficient safety kits for the frontline healthcare workers.

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Aliyu Dahiru

Aliyu is an Assistant Editor at HumAngle and Head of the Radicalism and Extremism Desk. He has years of experience researching misinformation and influence operations. He is passionate about analysing jihadism in Africa and has published several articles on the topic. His work has been featured in various local and international publications.

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