A huge harvest of deaths in North-West states is spreading fear across other states in the country as COVID-19 continues its ravage.
Reports from Jigawa, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina and Kano states have continued to reveal daily unexplained deaths in scores, fuelling fears that COVID-19 might be responsible for many of them.
92 deaths recorded in Jigawa
The report of a five-man committee set up by the Jigawa State governor, Alhaji Muhammadu Badaru Abubakar, to investigate the mysterious deaths in Hadejia Local Government Area of the state, indicated late on Thursday that 92 people died there in the last one
This was contained in a statement made available to Saturday Tribune in Dutse by the Special Assistant to the governor on Social Media, Alhaji Auwalu Sankara.
In the last seven days, the government said General Hospital, Hadejia, recorded 46 deaths, while the community recorded 44 mortalities, just as records from the two cemeteries in the local council showed that 92 corpses were buried within eight days.
According to the statement, findings by the committee revealed that the majority of the deceased were males who accounted for 73 percent, while the remaining 23 per cent were females.
The report, the statement said, showed that most of the deaths, 59 percent, took place at the homes of the deceased, while 41per cent took place at the general hospital.
The statement also quoted the report as claiming that whereas 74 per cent of the deceased were above 60 years, 15 per cent were between the ages of 40 and 60.
“All of the deceased persons who were investigated had pre-existing diseases like stroke, diabetes, dementia, liver diseases or musculoskeletal diseases and none of the deceased had a travel history outside Hadejia Local Government Area in a month before his death and none had a history of contact with either a confirmed
or suspected case of COVID-19.
“Only one person out of those investigated persons had fever, cough,l and difficulty in breathing and diarrhea in the week leading to his death.
He died at home and his family members are already in isolation,” the statement quoted the report as saying.
Meanwhile, the state government called on the people of the council area to stay calm and continue to practise social distance and personal hygiene.
Sokoto: Journalists been isolated as colleague dies of COVID-19
The last two weeks have also witnessed an unprecedented number of deaths in Sokoto State.
The journalism profession took a hit from the pangs of the deaths as it lost a member, a senior correspondent (name withheld) with a Lagos-based newspaper in the state.
He was last seen on April 27 at a press briefing by the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Muhammed Ali In name, on the progress of his office against COVID-19.
The deceased, it was said, participated in the entire process looking tired somewhat.
It was learnt that he was later taken to the hospital for medical attention where, sources said, he was barely attended to for almost 24 hours. One of his neighbours who
took him to the hospital said doctors on duty said his case was suspected to be COVID-19 and there was no Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for them to check him.
The journalist died the next day at the hospital after which his sample was taken to confirm his COVID-19 status. He was discovered to have died of coronavirus.
The discovery, it was gathered, caused jitters among members of the Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) where he belonged, many of whom
promptly went into self-isolation.
On the list of prominent personalities in the state who died over the last 14 days is a former governor of the state, Dr Dahiru Nadama.
He was aged 82.
Nadama, who was deputy to Shehu Kangiwa, who died in 1981, ruled the state for about two years before the abrupt termination of the Second Republic in 1983. Old age-related illness, not COVID-19, was cited as the cause of his death.
An unnamed permanent secretary was also said to have died during the week. Details of his illness and death were not known as of press time on Friday, but a source said that the traditional ruler of his hometown who was in his 90s also died recently. They were related.
Another prominent person who passed away recently was Professor Lawal Abubakar, who was the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) of the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto (UDUS).
The academic died in a private hospital in the state. He was said to be suffering from diabetes.
A source told one of our correspondents that the deceased had been monitoring his food intake since the commencement of this year’s Ramadan fast because of his medical condition. “He never knew that his sugar level was down and when he began to feel uncomfortable, he decided to seek medical help at the private hospital when he couldn’t get any help from UDUTH.
At the private hospital, his sugar level shot up and he regained a bit of stability. But complications soon set in and we lost him in the process.
“The NCDC requested for his sample and it was later discovered that he actually died of COVID-19.
It was established that the late professor contracted the virus in the course of his treatment at the said hospital. The infection was said to have been aggravated by his health status as a diabetic,” the source said.
Another person that died within the same period was one Oyemakinde, a branch service manager (BMS) with a new generation bank in the state. He was reported to have suffered a sudden asthma attack.
It was alleged that the banker was initially denied access to a public medical facility due to the fear that he might be suffering from COVID-19.
He was said to have eventually patronised a private hospital where he was stabilized and discharged.
Oyemakinde reportedly died inside his official car as he was being rushed back to the hospital after his condition became critical.
A source told our correspondent on the condition of anonymity that a sample was thereafter taken from his remains and it was established that he died of COVID-19.
His immediate family, it was gathered, however, believed that Oyemakinde was not a carrier of the virus; that he probably got infected after he visited the said private hospital.
Sokoto State Commissioner for Health Dr Muhammed Ali In name, on Friday, disclosed that the state government has set up a fact-finding panel to investigate the rumour of mass deaths in the state.
Dr Inamme, who is also the Chairman of Task Force on COVID-19 in the state stated this while reacting to a report of mass deaths in the state.
Reported by: Vincent Paul