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Mass deaths in Kano, Nigeria due to Covid-19, apprehension as work resumes

Presidential medical team leader, Dr. Nasiru Sani Gwarzo explained that the verbal autopsies and tests carried out established without doubt that COVID-19 caused the deaths that had earlier been described by state officials as being caused by a “mysterious” ailment.

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Body temperature of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano state being taken during an inspection visit to Kwanar Dawaki Diagnosis Centre, a 70-bed facility on Thursday. It is the second isolation centre in Kano./KanoFocus

The mysterious deaths in Nigeria’s northern city of Kano have been attributed to the raging Coronavirus, a presidential team investigating the cases said on Sunday.

Kano is the largest city in northern Nigeria and the most populous in the country. The state has seen a sharp rise in the death of senior citizens from age 55 and above, triggering a call for federal intervention.

Leader of the medical team investigating the deaths, Dr. Nasiru Sani Gwarzo said in a preliminary report on Sunday that his panel while working to unravel the cause of the deaths established that Covid-19 is largely responsible.

“With the preliminary report, most of the recent deaths recorded and tests carried out point to coronavirus. Hence, before the final reports which are expected in the next one week or few days, it is necessary for people of the state to wake up from their slumber and understand that this is a serious issue at hand”, Gwarzo told journalists in Kano.

The report was made public on a day that Nigerians were making last minute preparations ahead of resumption of work on Monday after President Muhammadu Buhari announced the easing of the lockdown in major states for work to resume and for the economy to start picking up.

Gwarzo who led the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 to the State spoke in Kano during the donation of mobile testing laboratories to the State government by Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote, an indigene of Kano state.

Dr. Gwarzo explained that the autopsies and tests carried out established without doubt that COVID-19 caused the deaths.

Deaths and Covid-19 denial

Nigeria’s The Nation reported that the Kano State government had repeatedly announced that the deaths were not coronavirus-related. It attributed the deaths first to “mysterious” causes, then malaria and then hypertension.

“We have five cogent reasons to say that the mass deaths recorded in Kano are associated with the Coronavirus”, Gwarzo said while insisting that a look at the age of the deceased persons, concentration of the people in one place and tests that were carried out, all showed evidence of COVID-19 infections.

The investigating panel expressed worry over the attitude of Kano residents to the fight against COVID-19, stating that many Kano residents continue to exhibit nonchalant attitude to laid down rules for preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Awareness is a big issue and the people must take precautionary measures against the spread of the disease through community transmission, Gwarzo explained.

Gwarzo who is also the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health spoke on the ongoing interventions by the central government.

“We have six centres that are ready to take the upsurge. In the next 48hours, Kano will have a new 500 space capacity. In two weeks, we will be able to make one thousand to three thousand capacity so that more people are received, given care, and in the process protected from not only getting sick but protected from not transmitting the disease”, the federal official said.

“Here in Kano, we have about three centres, one has the capacity of 180 samples and another 80. That is 260 and with the Dangote Foundation bringing another new 400 sample capacity Mobile Testing Laboratory Centre in the state, there will be tremendous improvement”, Gwarzo concluded.

Between April 25 and the last week, Kano lost a number of prominent men and women including a former National Economic Intelligence Committee Chairman, Professor Ibrahim Ayagi, former Executive Secretary of the state Universal Basic Education, Adamu Dali, and a former Editor of Triumph Newspapers Musa Tijani among others.


Partial lockdown takes off

A week after President Buhari announced the beginning of a partial lockdown ease and partial kickstart of economic activities, News Central investigations found that some Nigerians remain apprehensive about going to work on Monday, when the new measures take effect, amidst the rising number of infections.

“Re-opening the economy in the midst of rising community transmission, low testing capacity and inadequate medical facilities is a recipe for disaster”, Jide Zaid, a senior lawyer in the commercial city of Lagos, posted on social media.

Ironically, those who were agitating for the lockdown to be lifted had suddenly decided that they would no longer venture out of their homes from Monday as the rising cases announced by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control calls for caution.

The NCDC on Sunday announced 170 new infections with the country now having a total of 2,558 cases, 400 persons discharged and 87 deaths.

The commercial city of Lagos continues to top the list of infected Covid-19 persons with 1107, followed by Kano state with 342 and the country’s capital Abuja with 278.

The Federal Government has now announced a compulsory wearing of facemask as work resumes and reduction of work hours with a national curfew from 8pm to 6am.

East Africa News

South Sudan Launches Fresh Attack on SPLA-IO Base

South Sudan’s army has on Thursday launched a fresh attack against forces of the main armed opposition group and peace partner, SPLA-IO

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SOUTH SUDAN FRESH ATTACKS

South Sudan’s army on Thursday launched a fresh attack against forces of the main armed opposition group and peace partner, SPLA-IO at the Morota Unified Training centre. 

The deputy spokesman of the SPLA-IO in Juba, Colonel Lam Paul Gabriel said the attack was ordered by General Moses Lokujo who defected from the group to join the SSPDF in September.

According to Colonel Lam Paul Gabriel “… this morning November 26, at about 6:00am, the defected force of Maj. Gen. Moses Lokujo who is now under the command and control of the SSPDF attacked the SPLA-IO component of protection force for Morota Unified Training Centre, in complete violation of the permanent ceasefire,”  

The statement also confirmed the death of one SPLA-IO soldier and two others injured as the fighting continues.

Last week, the ceasefire monitoring body, CTSSAM-VM identified General Moses Lokujo as being responsible for the recent displacement of civilians around Kajo-Keji area. He was also accused of blocking access to a military training camp.

The revitalized peace deal expects all the parties to desist from actions that may obstruct or delay the provision of humanitarian assistance, protection of civilians, or restrict the free movement of people.

The armed opposition group further urged the SSPDF to cease attacks against it while urging that security mechanisms established under the revived peace agreement be implemented to halt the attacks.

He called on the SSPDF command to restrain Maj. Gen. Lokuj from incessant attacks against the SPLA-IO.

“It should also be noted that the forces in Morota Training Centre are not only SPLA-IO forces but a component of the unified forces under the command and control of the JTSC and JDB. Therefore, attacking this force is not only a violation but a direct attack against the Security Arrangement in particular and the R-ARCSS in general.”

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Burkina Faso President Roch Kabore Wins Re-election

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President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré of Burkina Faso has been re-elected to lead the West African nation for another five years.

Preliminary results from the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) on Thursday showed Kabore won 57.9% of the vote, while main challengers, Eddie Komboigo and Zephirin Diabre, got 15.5% and 12.5% respectively.

The President required over 50% to avoid a second round.

Burkina Faso’s election, held on November 22, was reportedly marred by insecurity that prevented a lot of people in the West African country from voting.

The main opponents had accused Kabore, who was elected in 2015, of failing to contain terrorist and ethnic violence which forced 1 million people to flee their homes during his first term.

Kabore’s opponents have raised concerns about the validity of the vote count, but the electoral commission has dismissed those allegations.

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President Buhari Will Set Nigeria On Fire If… -Governor Wike

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President Muhammadu Buhari will set Nigeria on fire if he chooses to turn a deaf ear to Nigerians’ demands, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State said on Thursday.

Wike, who spoke on a Channels TV programme, Sunrise Daily, said Buhari should implement the requests made at a meeting between Ministers, Federal lawmakers, and leaders of the six geopolitical zones over #EndSARS protests.

News Central reports that the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari, led the presidential delegation. They met with Governors and leaders of the South-South geopolitical zone in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital on Tuesday.

At the meeting, the South-South leaders, including the Rivers State governor demanded the restructuring of the country, in line with the principle of true federalism, saying it will guarantee peace, security and stability in the country.

Speaking of the meeting on Thursday, the Rivers state governor said: “I am not a pessimist. I don’t believe that because you didn’t do what you agreed to do yesterday, therefore, you will not do what you agree to do today. Even if he (Buhari) has not done what he told Nigerians he would do, he can say, look, I promised Nigerians yesterday, I didn’t do that and that is affecting my integrity and so, for people who know me, I will implement what I have said.

“People have raised the issue that they don’t think anything will come out of the dialogues. I don’t agree with them. I believe that if the President does not do it, given the opportunity he has now, he will be putting Nigeria on fire.”

He added,“He (Buhari) may not necessarily implement everything the people may want but let the people see the concrete evidence that under President Buhari, he has been able to implement one, two, three, four demands by the people.

“If he (Buhari) doesn’t take this opportunity now to implement some of these requests, I don’t think it will be very good for Nigerians and for his legacy.”

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