COVID-19 Updates: Anxiety, Fears As North Loses 3 Royal Fathers, Others

  • FG team blames COVID-19 for Kano mysterious deaths
Shehu of Bama, Emirs of Rano, Kaura Namoda

It is certainly not the best of times for the traditional institution in Northern Nigeria and there is no pretence about the fears, anger and anxiety in the land. No thanks to the loss of three prominent royal fathers and other prominent individuals in the region within the last couple of weeks.

Amidst the pains of these huge loss of prominent personalities, sons, daughters and many residents of Kano, the health authorities are battling hard to unravel the circumstances surrounding these mysterious deaths

In spite of initial denials by the Kano State government, reports are emerging that the deadly COVID-19 pandemic is now being fingered strongly as the major cause of this health disaster in one of Nigeria’s most populous states.

Official sources close to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) admit the situation is even more worrisome going by the recent photos and videos in social media capturing scenes from the burial ceremonies of these departed traditional rulers, particularly the Emir of Rano on Saturday, May 2, 2020

The clips showed a mass of people defying the two weeks lockdown imposed on Kano State by President Muhammadu Buhari as well as the health advisories on social and physical distancing at all public events.

However, in what seemed an official statement on the wave of these mysterious deaths, Dr Nasiru Sani Gwarzo, leader of the Presidential Technical Team deployed to assist the Kano State Committee in its response to COVID-19, on Sunday blamed the pandemic for the unfortunate loss of lives in the North West State.

Addressing the media in Kano on Sunday, Dr Gwarzo said; “With the preliminary report, most of the deaths recorded of recent and test carried out indicated that coronavirus is the cause.

“Hence, before the final report which would be ready in the next one week or few days, it is necessary for people of the state to wake up from their slumber that this is a serious issue at hand.”

Similarly, reports carried by an online newspaper, Politics Digest, stated that States in the tagged core north of the country have recently been prone to the tragic loss of many eminent personalities in a wave of mysterious deaths.

Traditional rulers, including three first class emirs, alongside other high rank title holders in various northern emirates formed part of the victims of these unexplainable deaths in the region.

On Saturday, the Emir of Rano in Kano state, Dr Tafida Abubakar Ila ll, died, aged 74, at Muhammad Abdullahi Wase Teaching Hospital, Kano at about 4:45pm after a brief illness.

Late Tafida, one of the four emirs recently appointed by Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje for the new emirates in Kano, is survived by two wives, 17 children and many grandchildren.

Turbaned in May last year, he was appointed first class emir together with the present Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, who was at that time Emir of Bichi; Emir of Karaye, Alhaji Ibrahim Abubakar ll and Emir of Gaya, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdulkadir Gaya. The four new emirates in Kano are Rano, Karaye, Bichi and Gaya.

The late emir was rushed to the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital on Friday for medical treatment, but was later referred to the Nassarwa Specialist Hospital for further medical attention.

His death came barely a week after another first Class Emir in Borno State, the Shehu of Bama, Alhaji Kyari Ibn Umar El-Kanemi died at a hospital in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.

The deceased was the seventh (7th) Shehu of old Dikwa Emirate that included Bama, Dikwa, Ngala and Kala-Balge local government areas of the State before it was, in 2010, split into two: Bama and Dikwa Emirates headed by two separate First Class Emirs.

Similarly, the Emir of Kaura Namoda Emirate in Zamfara State, Alhaji Muhammad Asha also passed on at aged 71, after a protracted illness at Yariman Bakura Specialists Hospital, Gusau.

Late Muhammad Asha, who was the second first class Emir of Kaura Namoda and the 17th Monarch of the Emirate, was appointed as the Emir of Kaura Namoda on March 24, 2004.

Until his appointment, he was an accountant, Auditor and Director Finance at Kaura Namoda, Gusau, Bukkuyum local government councils respectively and a Village head Nasarawar Mai-layi in the year 1975.

He became senior District Head (Chief) of Kaura Namoda in year 2000, a position he held until his appointment as the second Emir of Kaura Namoda.

The roll call of deaths also include a senior counsellor in Kano Emirate Council, Prof. Isa Hashim.

Hashim, who was the Jarman Kano, died on Sunday morning after a brief illness.

A family source, Ibrahim Aliyu, told reporters that the 86-year-old traditional title holder died when his health deteriorated following the deaths of some of his childhood friends in quick succession.

Hashim, a Professor of Political Science, was a senior lecturer with Bayero University Kano (BUK) where he taught for many years before his retirement.

He added to the list of high profile deaths witnessed in Kano in recent times. Starting about two weeks ago, media reports had on Tuesday, April 21, 2020, claimed that over 150 people died of unknown ailments and were buried in various cemeteries across the State.

However, given the likelihood of not conducting physical autopsy to ascertain the cause of these mysterious deaths due to religious persuasions, indications are that the Presidential Technical Team may have to wholly rely on verbal autopsies already proposed and adopted by the Kano State government to reach conclusions on their assignment. – With additional reports from Politics Digest and

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