Four Major Reasons For The Recent Mass Deaths And Slow #COVID19 Response In Kano

by on May 1, 2020

Nigerian Ruler, Muhammadu Buhari in his address had said a lockdown would be imposed in Kano for an additional two weeks, and that he was sending a government team to investigate the unexplained deaths in the northern state.

Nigeria’s Health Minister Dr Osagie Ehanire said the situation was being “monitored closely”.

But following preliminary investigations the state authorities dismissed a connection with coronavirus.

The mysterious disease has killed over 640 people, according to multiple reports.

Last weekend, the strange disease had killed a professor of Mass Communication, Bayero University, Kano, Murtala Balarabe Maikaba; Prof. Ibrahim Ayagi, owner of Hassan Gwarzo School; former Grand Khadi of Kano, Alhaji Dahiru Rabiu; and former Editor of Triumph, Mal Musa Tijjani.

Those who died in less than 48 hours were Alhaji Adamu Isyaku Dal, former Executive Secretary of SUBEB; Dr. Nasiru Maikano Bichi, Secretary, Student Affairs, Northwest University, Kano; and Prof. Aliyu Umar Dikko of Physiology Department, Bayero University, Kano, among others.

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Despite spread of coronavirus in Kano, the state government had suspended testing, citing lack of facilities. This came on a day members of Sokoto State Response Team on COVID-19 expressed shock as to how the index case in the state contracted the virus, despite not having any travel history to states with the virus.

According to Investigative Journalist, Fisayo Soyombo, there’re at least four major reasons for the recent mass deaths and slow COVID-19 response in Kano

Soyombo said three classes of people tested positive for the virus, then the state government played needless politics.

Below are the reasons:

  1. At least three lab scientists at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH) got infected with the virus, so the laboratory was closed down.
  1. Some members of the Rapid Response Team (RRT) — answering calls and going from house to house to retrieve patients with a mobile ambulance & convey them to the hospital for testing & subsequent relocation to the isolation centre — also tested positive for the virus.
  1. Some members of the Kano State Government Task Force on COVID-19, including the Co-Chairman and the Secretary, got infected with the virus and went into isolation.
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The committee also collapsed. All of this in less than two weeks. As these 3 arms shut down, the mysterious deaths started happening. Since the lab was shut, there was no way to test other than to move the lab to Abuja.

But to do that moving, they needed the RRT to touch different locations in town to collect samples & forward them to Abj.

This was no longer possible. Testing was summarily impeded.

  1. The state govt began denying the deaths until the figures rose so high that denial became untenable.

The Federal Ministry of Health offered to come into Kano to take over the COVID-19 response, but the state government initially refused, not wanting to be seen as a weak state.

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However, with pressure from all corners, plus the rising deaths, they had no choice but to allow them.

Finally, on Tuesday, a team from the Federal Government and the NCDC came into Kano to partner with what was left of the Kano COVID-19 task force.

They’ve been taking samples a lot this week.

But the samples had to be taken to Abuja — a time-consuming process cos it takes one day to get to Abuja & another to return to Kano.

In between, the test result itself takes 12 to 18 hours to process. All these amount to 3 to 4 days. In that time, the virus would have struck.

Source: Fisayo Soyombo – 


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