Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, has conceded that at least 150 died in Azare in the last one week, saying the 300 reported in the media does not represent the reality.
“it’s 150 people that have died in the last 30 days, and not 300 people as reported in the media”, the governor said on Sunday while addressing newsmen.
Meanwhile, some local government area in Bauchi State will begin to observe lockdown on Tuesday to forestall the spread of COVID-19 as well as get to the root if reported deaths in the State.
The Governor on Sunday addressed the press where he declared a total lockdown of Katagum, Giade and Zaki local government areas following reports of deaths and community transmission which has increased the positive cases of COVID-19 to 181 in the State.
He said the lockdown would last for a period of 10 days while admitting that it was necessary to stop the community transmission of COVID-19.
There has been controversy in Bauchi over some mystery deaths allegedly by COVID-19 since last week with a former member of the House of Representatives, Ibrahim Mohammed Baba, raising alarm in a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari that over 100 persons in Azare town, headquarters of Katagum Local Government Area of Bauchi State.
In a related development, an indigene of Azare and Secretary of the Muhammad Dankauwa Horse Riders Association in the town, Mr Umar Farouq, said over 300 people had died in the community.
Although no tests were being carried out to determine the cause of the deaths, Mr Farouq said that “most of the people who have died were aged 60 and above. Since April 24 when Fatima Adamu, the mother of the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, died in Azare, we have been seeing more deaths.
“About 300 persons have died in Azare now. No autopsy has been carried out to determine what killed them and we have been living as if nothing is going on. We are scared because most people living in Azare are like a family. We need a COVID-19 testing centre to determine what’s going on.”
But Governor Mohammed said that “total lockdown on the 3 LGAs is necessary; we just got result of about 66 cases, 42 of which were from Azare alone. And we have found out that most of the cases from Azare is as a result of community transmission; people are not adhering to guidelines in that axis, because there have been transaction going on between the people of Azare and Kano were the COVID-19 pandemic is high.
“We mean business and we are serious, that is why I asked the Deputy Governor to relocate to Katagum while I take charge at the centre. I had a conversation with the commissioner of Police to ensure total compliance. We have already contacted the traditional leaders in the 3 LGAs and we have obtained their buy-in.”
He said his government will fumigate the three affected local government areas during the lockdown, even as he asked the palliative committee to look at ways through which citizens of the areas could be assisted.