- There are unconfirmed reports of hundreds of deaths in Azare in Katagum local government area of Bauchi state
- A politician from the area revealed that 301 fresh graves were dug in the last 14 days in the community's cemetery
- The Bauchi state government claimed only 30 people died, but went on to declare a total lockdown in the area
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There are unconfirmed reports of hundreds of deaths in Azare in Katagum local government area of Bauchi state, as a result of coronavirus related illnesses, Daily Sun reports.
A former member of the House of Representatives representing Katagum Federal Constituency, Ibrahim Baba, in an open letter to President Muhammad Buhari, claimed that a strange disease has claimed over a hundred lives in the area.
The former federal lawmaker claimed that the mass deaths occurred within the last week due to coronavirus related complications.
Baba wrote that the situation has thrown the entire area into great mourning, panic and confusion, expressing great worry that the proximity of Azare to Bauchi, Kano and some major cities of Jigawa state, make the town’s large population susceptible to the virus due to the already existing large cases of the disease in those states.
“The ongoing horrific situation in Azare has not gotten the attention it deserves, and that’s why I want to use this privilege to appeal to you for urgent action to arrest the unpalatable situation,” he wrote.
He called on the president to direct the National Disease Control (NCDC) and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to urgently assist the people.
Similarly, Musa Azare, a People’s Democratic Party candidate in the Bauchi state house of assembly in the 2019 election for Azare/Madangala constituency, claimed that, as at Thursday, there were over 301 fresh graves at the Azare cemetery.
Azare expressed concern at the way corpses are accompanied for burials, suggesting a disregard for the state government’s directives on social distancing and other protocols.
“Information reaching me from Azare says that as at yesterday there were 301 fresh graves in the Azare cemetery dug in the last 14 days. I have verified this information from multiple sources,” he said in an open letter to Governor Bala Mohammed.
Azare said that there is the need to intensify public awareness campaigns among the people, charging them to be more responsible in the face of the pandemic.
In his reaction, Governor Mohammed on Sunday, May 10 debunked the reports of massive deaths in Azare within the last seven days.
“Based on our finding in the town, only 30 people have so far died in the last one week, and their deaths were not in any way related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” a media aide to the governor, Lawan Mauzu Bauchi said.
Meanwhile, Governor Mohammed has 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.
The governor who addressed journalists on Sunday, May 10 said the total lockdown of the three local governments was necessary to curtail the rapid community transmission.
He said the lockdown which would last for a period of 10 days, would start on Tuesday, May 12.
In a related development, the federal government on Thursday, May 7 again warned of a possible fresh lockdown of the country over the violation of the guidelines on the eased lockdown.
National coordinator, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu, gave the warning in Abuja during the daily briefing of the PTF.
He said if Nigerians continue to fail to respect and follow all the guidelines, the PTF might review and possibly change them.
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