Trouble has reportedly broken out in Bauchi State following the alleged deaths, in the past two weeks, of about 110 persons in Azare town in Katagum Local Government Area of the state.
It was learnt that the controversy broke out when a former member of the House of Representatives, Ibrahim Mohammed Baba, raised the alarm in a letter to the President Muhammadu Buhari, informing him of the alleged deaths.
According to report, Baba claimed that the deaths were due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the town; a development that has thrown the entire town into panic and confusion.
The ex-lawmaker disclosed that about 286 persons were allegedly buried at the Azare cemetery in the last two weeks while saying that anyone in doubt should visit the cemetery to verify his claim.
If you go to the graveyard, they have a register there and you would see it yourself. In the last two weeks, they registered more than 286 bodies at the Azare graveyard. The normal death rate in the town was about one to two per day, so you have to raise the alarm when you are burying 200 to 300 persons in two weeks and over 100 per week. Our people are dying, do we have to keep quiet?
We are not blaming anybody; this is a pandemic, we are just asking the government to take further action. The Federal Medical Centre there is doing well; they have over 20 people in isolation there. It’s a case of community transmission like the one in Kano.
Go to the Federal Medical Centre isolation centre and ask them how many people they have there within two weeks. When Justice Dahiru Saleh died, the record was around 236. If you go to the Azare cemetery, the register is there. What we are trying to do is to inform the government to do the needful. We are asking for a testing centre and other measures the government can deploy to give palliatives to people.
In the letter addressed to the President and titled: ‘Massive COVID-19 outbreak in Azare: Request for urgent action’, Baba called for an urgent intervention from President Buhari.
The letter read in part:
The centrality and proximity of Azare to Bauchi, Kano and some major cities of Jigawa State makes the town’s large population susceptible to the virus due to the already existing large cases of the disease in those areas.
And because media coverage is always largely skewed towards states capitals and other more prominent cities, the ongoing horrific situation in Azare has not got the attention it deserves, and that is why I want to use this privilege to appeal to you for urgent action to arrest the unpalatable situation.
Consequently therefore, I wish to appeal to Your Excellency to direct the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to urgently reach out to Azare town with all the necessary facilities and palliatives to assist the communities there.
And to help in this expected effort, may I draw your attention to the fact that an Opthalmology unit and laboratory have already been built and equipped by the Central Bank of Nigeria at the Azare Federal Medical Centre since 2013 but have not been inaugurated and put to use till now.