Nigeria: Coronavirus - Ganduje in Dramatic Turn Orders Probe of Kano Deaths

(file photo).

Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje in a dramatic turn has directed the state's ministry of health to investigate the causes of mysterious deaths reported in the state.

The governor had last week dismissed the reports of mysterious deaths in the state as "fake news."

On Sunday, however, the governor acknowledged recent deaths in the state but said the government was on top of the situation.

This is according to a statement made available to journalists in Kano by the state's Commissioner of Information, Muhammad Garba. The official said although investigation into the cause of the deaths was still ongoing, preliminary report from the state Ministry of Health indicated that they were not connected to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said reports from the state's ministry of health had shown that most of the deaths were caused by complications arising from hypertension, diabetes, meningitis and acute malaria.

He said Governor Ganduje was eagerly awaiting the report of the investigation from the health ministry.

He denied criticism of the management of the COVID-19 crisis in the state.

"Governor Ganduje's administration has been commended from within and outside the state over the proactive measures it took towards curbing the COVID-19 pandemic," Mr Garba said in the statement.

"This explains why Kano, apart from being the most populous state, did not record a case of the pandemic until lately. Though we agree that the situation on hand currently is serious, we are not resting on our oars in taking appropriate measures to ensure that the good people of Kano State, and indeed, residents in the state protect themselves from the novel COVID-19 pandemic."

Mr Garba said part of measures taken by the state government to stop the spread of the virus include the on-going lockdown, closing of the state's boundaries, and aggressive campaign for social distancing, washing and sanitising of hands, as well as strict adherence to and practice of the principles of personal hygiene.

He said the government through the Kano COVID-19 Fund-Raising Committee, has been making palliatives available to the most vulnerable and the needy in the society.

"More so, the state government has three modern isolation centres where those tested positive for COVID-19 are being cared for. We are also hopeful of getting additional two Isolation centres soonest. The government has also hired a hotel where suspected cases are accommodated.

"Also, Kano State government is collaborating with Bayero University, Kano (BUK) to establish a testing centre within the institution, which will be ready in two weeks time after being certified by the NCDC. This will, indeed, enhance our determination to ensure that every suspected case undergo test.

"Governor Ganduje has also sent a passionate appeal to the Federal Government to urgently work on the NCDC testing centre at AKTH which has been closed down for sometime now.

"We have enough medical manpower that can take care of the patients. What we are now asking for is financial assistance from the Federal Government and other donors to help sustain all this infrastructure and also continue the provision of palliatives to our people."

He said the state government "is concerned over what is happening. The Ministry of Health is already handling the situation. When they are through with the medical investigation, further necessary actions will be taken."

He urged the people of the state not to panic as the "government is on top of the situation. The mystery or whatever it is will soon be unravelled."

The state recorded dozens of high profile deaths on Saturday and Sunday. Among the dead were five professors, a former Grand Khadi, a former state chairman of State Universal Basic Education (SUBEB), former commissioner of education, and a former editor of the state-owned Triumph newspapers.

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