Mr President, Kano needs more, stop starving it of funds
By Abdulmumin Giwa
I listened to the national broadcast by President Muhammadu Buhari on the COVID-19 and what the Nigerian government is doing. I was waiting to hear what the government has planned for Kano in particular, most especially with the recent upsurge in deaths that has hit the news headlines across the country.
I was disappointed with what I personally see as a meager response by the federal government on Kano. It was as good as nothing. Definitely the Federal government must give technical and logistic support to Kano with the rate at which the disease is spreading in the state and its level of vulnerability. So it is unfair for the Nigerian government to announce only that as what it is planning for the state.
In that case, what the state government had done is by far better than what the federal government is announcing as its plan for Kano despite its vulnerability.
We should review what the Kano state government had done prior to the recent intervention of the federal government to see what better it has done beyond what the state was doing.
Yes it is true that Kano state needs funds because it is more vulnerable and more prone to the spread of COVID-19 than states such funds have been given to. It is not true that the state government is totally idle or totally not proactive in its response to the COVID-19 as wrongly suggested by some sadists even as it needs to do more. The state has done just like other states and the federal government or even better when compared.
I think much needs to be understood about what is on ground in Kano. Actually the Kano state Governor Abdullahi Ganduje had done exactly what was done in other places and the federal government and even more. But the truth about it is that there is nothing without challenges.
The Governor started by closing Kano boarders, to block possible transmission of the disease from other states. It was done in such a way that the Governor himself was inspecting the boarders.
He then went ahead to establish a state taskforce on Covid-19 led by the Deputy Governor Nasiru Gawuna and co-chaired by a Professor, Abdulrazak Garba Habib who also later tested positive. Members of the taskforce include health experts in the state.
Aware of the difficulties embedded in necessary steps to be taken in curbing the spread of the disease in the state, Ganduje established a Fund Raising Committee led by the Vice Chancellor of Bayero University Kano to which the largest donation of N300 million came from a business guru Aminu Dantata. The job of the committee is to raise donations in cash and kind for palliative to the poorest of the poor in the state to cushion the effect of the lockdown.
The funds raised is a little over N500 million and some few thousands of bags of assorted food items.
The committee had identified 300,000 households to benefit from palliatives out of which it started with 50,000 based on what is available.
On the other hand, the taskforce committee had to go in disarray as some of them, including the co-chair and the health commissioner were said to have tested positive of Corona Virus. The other members all accordingly have to go on isolation as demanded by the principles of global best practices.
The NCDC established a testing center for COVID-19 in the state. Some of the health workers were also rumored to have tested positive and the place had to be closed down for fumigation and other processes. It closed down for some days while the disease was having a field day in the state.
The Governor also, along with the BUK made efforts to establish another test centre at BUK thereafter, following negligence by the presidential task force.
Imagine the level of negligence by the federal government that within less than two weeks of an index case the number had risen to 71. There were also no test kits and an established centre was closed down.
All these efforts by the state government were not supported by the federal government even as death rates mysteriously rose, with an average of 100 people buried daily for two weeks. No one could tell if the deaths had anything to do with Corona Virus although the state government says they ere dying of other illnesses like hypertension, diabetes and malaria. More so, those dying were mostly elderly with underlying ailments like hypertension, diabetes, malaria and others.
The state COVID-19 taskforce in disarray, the donations not forthcoming, the test centre dissolved and challenges increasing without any support from the Federal Government, what more would one expect? What more has anyone, anywhere in Nigeria done, including the federal government, in the fight against the Corona Virus?
What new inovation has the federal government brought to the fight against the spread of COVID-19 in Kano? The state was already on lockdown even before Mr President announced a two weeks lockdown. This is not even talking about what the government has been spending in public enlightenment and sensitization on the media. More so, in effort to impose the lockdown satisfactorily, the government inaugurated 11 mobile courts to punish violators.
Definitely it is not fair of the federal government to neglect the state and starve it of funds at this stage. This is a state with over 15 million people at the risk of COVID-19 epidemic with the federal government and its so-called COVID-19 taskforce showing an I don’t care attitude while playing with the lives of over 15 million Nigerians.
What Kano needs now is sufficient funds to take preventive measures against the possible outbreak of the COVID-19 in a very vulnerable state. There is no genuine reason why the federal government should deny the state funds at this point of life and death. Indeed prevention is better than cure, if the federal government decides to remain indifferent today it might end up spending ten times what it is refusing to spend today to prevent the epidemic. Kano needs more!!!