Causes Of 1,774 Kano Deaths: Kano Government Was Totally Wrong And Federal Government Partly Right …we are vindicated!
Intersociety, Onitsha Eastern Nigeria, 18th June 2020: The announcement by the Government of Kano State that a total of “1,774 persons died in the State between 1st March and 2nd May 2020”, is not only a total vindication of our earlier reports, but also another victory over our consistent campaigns to hold the country’s Local, State and Federal Governments to be accountable to the governed at all times. The official disclosure by the State Government of number of the harvest of deaths and duration of same is strongly believed to have not captured the exact number and correct duration of the so called “Kano unexplained deaths”. However, the disclosure is better than denials and cover-ups that heralded and characterized same before now.
It is recalled that Intersociety had in its previous statements on COVID-19 and COVID-19 related harvest of deaths in Northern Nigeria especially in Kano, Jigawa, Yobe and Bauchi States, credibly estimated that “not less than or more than 1500 deaths were recorded in Kano between 11th April when the first massive deaths occurred in the State and 17th May 2020 when we wrote the Director General of the Center for Disease Control” and that in all, “not less than 2500 deaths occurred in the States mentioned”. The named States included Yobe (over 470 officially reported), Bauchi (over 150 officially reported) and Jigawa (over 200 independently reported).
Intersociety had specifically on 17th May 2020 written the NCDC urging same to investigate those deaths. In our statement of 10th May, Kano State Government was urged to set up an investigative panel into same. Our letter to NCDC and its DG was in line with the functions and powers of the NCDC provided in the NCDC Act of 2018. The Center for Disease Control was created as “the country's national public health institute, with the mandate to lead the preparedness, detection and response to infectious disease outbreaks and public health emergencies. The first formal step to establish the NCDC took place in 2011 when some departments in the Ministry of Health, including the Epidemiology Division, the Avian Influenza Project and its laboratories; and the Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (NFELTP) were moved to form the nucleus of the agency. The Bill for an Act to establish NCDC was signed into law in November 2018 by the Federal Government of Nigeria”.
Included in the NCDC’s core functions are to (a) Prevent, detect, and control diseases of public health importance. (b) Coordinate surveillance systems to collect, analyze and interpret data on diseases of public health importance. (c)Support States in responding to small outbreaks, and lead the response to large disease outbreaks. (d) Develop and maintain a network of reference and specialized laboratories. (e) Conduct, collate, synthesize and disseminate public health research to inform policy. (f) Lead Nigeria’s engagement with the international community on diseases of public health relevance.
Where Kano Government Got It Wrong
The report should have started from second week of April to second week of May 2020 and not “1stMarch to 2nd May 2020”. Apart from the Kano harvest of deaths first reported on 11th April, killing over 150 under four days; there were reports of more people dying of “strange” or “unexplained” illnesses in the State as at second week of May 2020. For instance, as at 6th May 2020, people were still dying in the State of “unexplained Illnesses”. The victims included Professor Mousuru Lasun-Eniola of the Department of Physical Education, Bayero University, Kano (BUK), and an ace broadcaster with radio Kano, Ali Haruna Yakasai. The duo died on 6thMay 2020.
The Government of Kano State also got it totally wrong in the area of “allocation of illness causes”. Granted that its investigative panel was headed by one Prof Murthar Gadanya (Head of Department of Public Health, Community Medicine, Bayero University, Kano), but that aspect of the report is strongly believed to be circumstantially fallacious or deliberately designed to distort facts. The report’s ‘finding’ to the effect that “only 255 of the total 1,774 deaths were allocated to COVID-19” is dead on arrival and brazenly false. It is therefore correct for us at Intersociety to agree with the Federal Ministry of Health that “50-60% of the Kano harvest of deaths is COVID-19 caused”.
In other words, about 1100 of Kano deaths are COVID-19 caused. It is reminded that the Health Minister made this disclosure on 9th June 2020 in Abuja. The Minister, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, had on Monday said investigation suggests that between 50-60 per cent of the strange deaths in Kano may have been triggered by or are due to COVID-19. Ehanire disclosed this at the daily COVID-19 Presidential Task Force briefing in Abuja. The minister said the Federal Ministry of Health received the report of the Ministerial Task Team that went to Kano, to support the COVID-19 response with commodities, training, technical and confidence-building measures this morning. Federal Government is therefore ‘partly, but not totally right’.
Condemning Federal Government: Having previously criticized the Federal Government especially its Center for Disease Control for ‘not doing enough’ and ‘responding at snail pace’, the same Government also got it wrong by still failing to capture its disclosed figure of some 1100 Kano deaths in the national COVID-19 death statistics. Realistically speaking, the Federal Government is brutally under reporting and representing the country’s COVID-19 infection and death figures. If properly and credibly investigated, over 1700 deaths arising from COVID-19 in Northern Nigeria are being omitted or excluded from the country’s official statistics.
Most Of The 2500 Northern Deaths Are Likely COVID-19 Caused: It is our firm position that most of the now officially confirmed over 2500 harvest of deaths in the named Northern Nigerian States are COVID-19 caused and the remainder-COVID-19 pandemic related. It is “COVID-19 deaths” when the victims died of same owing to old age or when its symptoms strike at those with existing illnesses or with weak or vulnerable immune systems. And it is COVID-19 pandemic related when those with different protracted illnesses died because of their inability to access hospitals or doctors or in the course of encountering hardships brought about by the pandemic. If expanded further, deaths arising from COVID-19 generated domestic violence or security controls or street crimes including crimes against persons and properties; may be qualified.
For: Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law
Barr Damaris Amaka Onuoha
Head, Campaign & Publicity
Email: [email protected]y-ng.org