The strange and gale of deaths in Kano, Nigeria’s most populous city and State, continues unabated, with the deaths now affecting the elite.
For over one week, cemeteries in and around the sprawling city of Kano has been reporting an unprecedented spike in the number of deaths and burials.
And though the COVID-19 Testing Centre in Kano State has been shut down since Wednesday, the death of an economic icon, Professor Ibrahim Ayagi; Professor of physiology, Professor Aliyu Abdullahi Umar Dikko; the Regional Manager of First Bank in Kano, Abdullahi Lawal; erstwhile Managing Director (MD) of the Defunct Continental Merchant Bank; and Mallam Musa Ahmad Tijjani, ex-Editor of Leadership Sunday and Triumph newspapers, together with four other illustrious personalities have died after brief illness not necessarily linked to the deadly pandemic.
It was gathered that not a few suspects that the eminent personalities, who just died, might have succumbed to the strange illness since there was no evidence of their being tested for Coronavirus since the Covid-19 Testing Centre in Kano have been shut down with no definite date for resumption of the test in the most populous state in Nigeria.
Their demise, PRNigeria gathered, occurred within a spate of 24 hours.
They all died between Friday, 24 April and Saturday, 25 April, 2020. The other high-profile personalities include Alh. Adam Iliyasu Dal, a former Chairman of the Kano State Civil Service Commission; Nasiru Maikano Bichi; Dr. Musa Umar Gwarzo; and Ustaz Dahiru Rabiu, who is a former Grand Khadi of Kano State. The late Prof. Ayagi was a Commissioner for Economic Development in the State from 1975-1978, just as he was also a former Director-General of Kano Foundation from 1987-1990. Ayagi, who is also the proprietor of Hassan Ibrahim Gwarzo College in Kano, died on Saturday, after a protracted illness at the age 80.
Prof. Aliyu Umar Dikko was former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC) at the Bayero University Kano (BUK). He was involved in the opening of three faculties of Medicine / Basic Medical Sciences in Bayero University, Kaduna State University and Yusuf Maitama Sule University.
As for Lawal, PRNigeria gathered, that the First Bank Regional Manager in Kano, died from a suspected case of COVID-19. Family sources said immediately the late Banker took ill, he was first put on admission at a private clinic from where he was referred to Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital.
Sources said the late Lawal, who was in his early 50, was rushed to a private clinic after he suffered high fever, intermittent cough, and respiratory hiccups without getting medical care, before he gave up the ghost.
In an audio recording, the mother-in-law to the banker alleged that the negligence of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in Kano, led to the death of her son-in-law, as she cried out that her daughter and grandchildren be taken in for tests to confirm if they have contracted the dreaded COVID-19.
But the NCDC has promised to investigate the allegations by a 70-year-old woman, Mrs. Selma Ahmed about the death of her son in-law in Kano State.
Ahmed, in a viral audio obtained by PRNigeria, complained about how both the NCDC and Kano State government abandoned her son in-law to die as a result of suspected COVID-19 Infection.
But the Head of Prevention, Programmes and Knowledge Management, NCDC, Dr Chinwe Ochu, noted that response to infectious diseases outbreaks such as COVID-19 at subnational levels are led by the States.
Dr Ochu stressed that NCDC supports States in preparedness and response to disease outbreaks including capacity building, hands on training, guidance and coordination.
“NCDC does not have an office in Kano nor in any State. However, NCDC supported States in setting up public health emergency operations centres run by States to ensure effective coordination of a public health response. Samples have been collected from close contacts of the diseased for testing,” she said.
In the same vein, an official of NCDC while speaking to PRNigeria, assured that the allegations by Ahmed are being investigated.