Sunday, 3 May 2020

Amidst Rising Deaths:President Buhari Gave Me Permission To Relax Kano Lockdown..Ganduje

Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State unexpectedly relaxed the coronavirus induced lockdown in the state yesterday even as the mysterious deaths in the state continued.

Ganduje’s action was said to be a unilateral decision and came only 48 hours after he pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to relax the curfew that was imposed last Monday.

The governor however said last night that he got the consent of President Buhari to relax the lockdown order.

His Chief Press Secretary, Abba Anwar, said in a statement that  “we sought for the consent of Mr President on how to relax the lockdown, to allow for some free movements of people but within stipulated hours of the agreed days.”

The state government is also bickering with the immediate past governor of the state, Dr. Rabiu Kwankwaso over alleged donation of a 60-bed hospital by the latter as isolation centre.

The state said there was no verbal or written communication from Kwankwaso as at press time yesterday on the donation of the hospital.

Besides Ganduje, members of the PTF are worried that some governors have not been working in tandem with the committee in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

The Nation gathered that although the PTF had a review session on Saturday in Abuja, there was no request presented to it by Ganduje to relax the lockdown in the state.

The meeting, sources said, deliberated extensively on the ‘precarious’ situation in Kano State and the preparations for the containment of COVID-19.

But a few hours after the PTF meeting ended, members heard of the relaxation of the lockdown by the governor.

A top source said: “Most PTF members were shocked by the relaxation of the lockdown by the governor because the conditions for such did not exist. We have been worried about the increasing COVID-19 spread in the state. Just on Friday, the state recorded 92 cases.

“We know that the state does not have enough facilities to manage the Coronavirus epidemic. His decision to relax the lockdown was hasty and untimely. It came at a time when President Muhammadu Buhari sent a team to Kano State to help the state manage the situation.

Responding to a question, the source added: “Ganduje did not send any request to the PTF to relax the lockdown.

“The PTF met on Saturday to review the situation but there was no such a demand from Ganduje. The only issue was about the concern that some governors have not been working in tandem with the committee to contain the coronavirus disease.

“For instance, some governors are mounting pressure on the PTF to allow them to be flexible on curfew.”

A call was put through to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha but he did not pick or reply.

A text message sent to his GSM line and WhatsApp also yielded no response.

Under the relaxation announced by Ganduje yesterday residents of the state will have a 12 hour free period per week.

He said that the people are free to move about between 10 am and 4 pm on Mondays and Thursdays to get food items and other essential commodities to keep life going.

He said neighborhood supermarkets would be allowed to open for people to patronize.

The list of such supermarkets will be released in due course.

The Governor explained that all the major markets will remain closed, except some selected supermarkets

Ganduje added that only Yankaba Market where perishable items are sold, and Yan Lemo Market, where fruits are sold, would be allowed to operate between 10am and 4pm on Mondays and Thursdays.

Ganduje, however, warned that traders and buyers must observe the COVID-19 protocols including the wearing of face masks.

He warned that any trader caught cheating customers by increasing prices would have his shop locked down, and his goods confiscated.

He said: “From the reports, we have seen, no doubt that there is mass increase of COVID-19 cases in Kano. This is an issue that people should be conscious of so that we can take the protocols very seriously.”

He added that with the help of President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Test Centre at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH) has become operational, “although we are still taking samples to Abuja because of the low capacity of the NCDC Test Centre.”

According to Ganduje, Alhaji Aliko Dangote has promised to bring a Mobile Test Centre which has the capacity of testing 400 people per day,” adding that with time mobile testing will increase to testing up to 1000 people per day.

Ganduje also hinted that the Bayero University Kano (BUK) Test Centre will soon be operational.

He regretted that “the setback we have witnessed for some weeks now without test centre contributed to the high level of cases that Kano has recorded.”

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