Nigeria: Govt Not Supporting Kano to Combat COVID-19 - Ganduje

(file photo).
28 April 2020

Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, yesterday accused the federal government of abandoning the state's fight against COVID-19.

He also directed the state Ministry of Health to carry out "verbal autopsy" of those who died due to various strange ailments over the weekend.

However, Ganduje's predecessor, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, has alerted President Muhammadu Buhari to the rising cases of mysterious deaths in the state, especially of senior citizens, seeking his intervention in taming the fatalities.

Ganduje, in an interview with the BBC Hausa Service yesterday, monitored in Kano, accused the presidential task force of not supporting and collaborating with the state task force in checking the spread of the disease.

"The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control COVID -19 testing laboratory at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital has been shut for almost a week and we are not able to conduct the test and send it to Abuja for analysis.

"The presidential task force is yet to do anything about this despite my complaints," Ganduje stated.

However, THISDAY checks showed that contrary to the governor's statement, the federal government had collaborated with the state government to contain the pandemic.

Last Thursday, the National Coordinator, PTF, Dr. Sani Aliyu, said the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) had redeployed 17 persons to Kano State to support the fight against COVID-19 in the state.

According to him, additional laboratory equipment had also been sent to Kano while the molecular laboratory, where some workers had contracted the virus, was under fumigation and disinfection.

The governor also told the BBC that the state had applied to the federal government for N15 billion to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

He has also directed the state Ministry of Health to carry out a verbal autopsy of those who lost their lives to various strange ailments over the weekend.

According to a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information, Malam Muhammad Garba, a combined team from the state Ministry of Health and NCDC has been drafted to eight local government areas within the Kano Emirate Council to perform the autopsy.

Kwankwaso Writes Buhari, Seeks Intervention over Kano's Mysterious Deaths

In his letter to the president, made public yesterday, Kwankwaso sought his intervention to save more people from dying.

He condemned the approach of the state government in the war against the pandemic, describing it as uncoordinated and unprofessional.

He added that the state at the moment did not have a COVID-19 committee.

The former governor in a four-page letter to the president anchored his letter on five key concerns and explained that the reason was to draw the president's attention to the incidents in the state as well as the nation and proffer suggestions on the way out.

He listed what he described as the "very scary rise in the number of people that are mysteriously dying in Kano every day since the commencement of the fight against COVID-19 and the eventual lockdown of the state; the uncoordinated and the unprofessional manner in which the fight against the disease in Kano State is being waged and the attendant and unprecedented mistrust of the government by the governed; the near absence of cooperation and coordination between the state and the federal government on the COVID-19 response; the frightening reality of the tendency of the present health emergency to metamorphose into a security emergency" as some of his observations.

"Looking at the pattern elsewhere in the world where senior citizens with pre-existing conditions were the main fatalities of the novel coronavirus, we are concerned that the inability to conduct tests in the state to determine the status of these senior citizens might be responsible for their deaths," he added.

Kwankwaso alleged that the state had no COVID-19 response committee, adding that the committee hitherto working as a COVID-19 committee was a "contraption of cronies that were both unqualified and incompetent."

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