By Bala Ibrahim
Last night, a friend sent a text message to me shortly after the iftar, announcing the death of his elder brother, and the demise of a common friend, whose story I told some friends just a few days ago. This morning, another friend woke me up from sleep, with the sad news of the death of his neighbor and that of a renown retired Grand Khadi. My stomach couldn’t take it, so I took a visit to the toilet, for the ritual of self and system cleansing.
From morning till now, I’ve received not less than five calls, all of them saying the same thing-someone close by has died, with the latest being that of the death of Professor Ibrahim Ayagi, the former Managing Director of the defunct Intercontinental Bank. As I write this article, the professor is yet to be buried.
For some time now, the NCDC has suspended the test exercise in Kano, in order to carry out what it called, fumigation and other things essential to the testing sites. All samples are taken to Abuja, and according to the NCDC, the results are expected to start arriving from today. But in the interim, many people, mostly the elderly, are dying daily, in a manner that is constantly raising concern. Already the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 had announced the dispatch of a team to Kano, in order to unlock the mystery behind the conundrum.
Kano recorded its index case of the COVID-19 in the second week of April, but as of today, and certainly before the suspension of testing, the state has more than 100 confirmed cases of the disease, and well over 500 mysterious deaths. It is for this reason, that the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 says it is alarmed, and would keep a close watch on the situation.
An audio clip of a lady, whose son in-law is said to have died, presumably from the Covid-19 related complications, is running viral on the social media, and raising additional concern on the plight of the people of Kano.
Sources say, sequel to what is happening, some hospitals and doctors in the state, are now turning away patients because their capacity to cope has been exhausted. The fear is dual- the doctors are afraid because they have no sufficient protective equipments, while the patients are nervous because they are not sure about the safety of the medical facility.
For the people of Kano today, the situation is that of a quandary, because everyone is in difficulty, directly or indirectly. Under normal circumstances, the best bet of the patient is the hospital. Now the hospitals are the sickest, for lack of essentials. People are compelled to make a choice between two alternatives, all of them equally undesirable-die at home or go to the hospital and die.
Particularly painful, is the unreliability of information from the sources patients were told to rely upon. The lady whose son in law passed on, said she was pained most, by the deception of the staff at the NCDC control room, who kept giving her assurances that they are on their way. In the end, it was death that visited, instead of the medics.
People’s confidence on the government must not be allowed to erode, to the level of singing the song of Randy Crawford, Same old story, same old song:
Same old story, same old song. Goes all right till it goes all wrong. Now you’re going, then you’re gone. Same old story, same old song. Now you’re going, then you’re gone. Same old story, same old song. One hand will take, one hand will give. That’s all we know, that is how we live. One day hello, the next day goodbye. And everyone just stays high. Same old story, same old song. One builds you up, one tears you down. To some you’re a saint, to others you’re a clown. What can you do but just see it through. And hold on to what is left of you? Same old story, same old song.
Sadly for now in Kano, what is left for the people to hold on to, is the sad news of deaths, daily.