A former member representing Katagum Federal Constituency, Bauchi State, Ibrahim Baba, on Friday wrote a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari over mass deaths in Azare town in the wake of Coronavirus pandemic.
In the letter entitled “MASSIVE COVID-19 OUTBREAK IN AZARE: REQUEST FOR URGENT ACTION”, a copy of which was made available to DAILY NIGERIAN, the lawmaker claimed that the deaths occured in the last one week.
“Your Excellency, Sir, I write to draw your kind attention to the massive outbreak of Coronavirus in Azare town and environs in Bauchi State, which has already resulted in over 100 fatalities in the last one week, and this has thrown the entire area into great mourning, panic and confusion.
“The centrality and 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 areas,” he said.
According to him, the deaths were not reported ‘because media coverage is always largely skewed towards states capitals and other more prominent cities’ saying he wrote to the president so that urgent action could be taken to arrest the unpalatable situation.
He appealed to Mr Buhari to direct the National Center for Diseases Control, NCDC, 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.
Mr Baba noted that Ophthalmology unit and laboratory have already been built and equipped by the Central Bank of Nigeria at the Azare Federal Medical Center since 2013 but have not been commissioned and put to use up till now.
“This facility can be repurposed to a COVID-19 test and treatment center provided the right equipments are added, including ventilators.
“As a matter of life and death, I have the utmost trust in your sense of patriotism and commitment to the wellbeing of Nigerians that you will assist the beleaguered people of Azare town and environs to overcome this harrowing situation,” he pleaded.
However, in his reaction to the lawmaker’s claim on Saturday at a press conference, the Bauchi state deputy governor and chairman of the state task force on COVID 19, Baba Tela, refuted the death figures, saying his findings showed that in the last five days, only 30 people died in Azare.
He said the cause of the deaths could not be ascertained at the moment but opined that the deceased persons died of illnesses caused by the hot weather.