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COVID 19: Fear Grips Masari Over Dutsin ma Local Government COVID 19 Victim

By Elizabeth Chukwuma

When Aminu Masari, a former Speaker of House of Representatives and now governor of Katsina, home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, ordered Civil Servants to resume work last week, there was palpable fear  that he has opened  up the  state for Coronavirus disease, popular, COVID 19,  named after the year it emerged in the Wuhan Town of China and  reported to the World to the World Health Organisation, WHO, to spread  across the state.

This is because of the several illegal routes that illegal immigrants from the  neighbouring  Niger  in the West African sub -region, which  already have confirmed 609 victims of the deadly  disease  as at Friday April 17, 2020, compared to Nigeria’s figure of 442 cases could penetrate the state without interruption. The governor who believes that the return  of  the Civil servants to work in the state would  it to economic  normalcy may have been  disappointed  for relaxing the lockdown in the state.

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This is because of  the Nigerian Center for Disease Control, NCDC, official revelation  at the state  COVID 19,  Emergency  Committee meeting to review the health crisis   that a Coronavirus case had been confirmed at Dutsin-Ma town ,headquarters of Dutsin.Ma local government Area o. The COVID 19 meeting was said to have been attended by Security agencies personnel, Traditional and religious leaders.

The revelation by the NCDC, may have gripped with fear   because of the number of people  who  may have contact with the victim in the local government . It is believed that the victim may have contacted the disease from Niger, described  as  the home of bandits, because of the frequent attacks on Communities in the local government area.

The worry of the governor , according to a security  source was that he has exposed the state to COVID 19  which had put the health  of the security  agencies personnel  in the state fighting  to contain the activities of bandits  including  the Customs personnel running after the Contraband  smugglers in the border Communities in the local  government Area.

In anger he was said to have ordered a lock down of the local government  from 7  am daily to fish out other  suspected cases of the disease in the Council Area. He may have taken the decision  to curb the spread of the deadly disease to other parts of the state. Indeed, security watchers would want him to extend the lockdown throughout all the local  government  areas in the state.

The question on the lips of most people was: why was Masari  in a hurry to relax the lockdown in the state  when the Katsina state born Nigerian President has extended by additional two weeks the lockdown of Lagos, Ogun and Abuja , the Federal Capital Territory , because of the increasing number of confirmed cases Coronavirus .

The governor may have realized his mistakes for bowing to pressure to order  Civil servants to return to work in the state as he quickly  took a cue  from  Babatunde Sanwo-Olu, the governor of Lagos state, described as the epicenter of the disease by medical experts to shut- down of the weekly border   markets across the state. The affected weekly markets   included Mai-adua, Mashi.Charanchi, Jibia,Dutsinma, Batsari, Kafur, Sheme and Dandume zango. Othes are Danja,Bakori, Kaita, Kagadama and Dankama.

He was said to have also suspended  the weekly Friday  Congrgational Prayers as well the Ramadam public Tafsir and Tarawiy  Prayers at the Mosques and public places across the state to curb the spread of the  disease.  Many believe that if he had sustained the initial  lockdown  order as obtained in other states of the Federation the  disease  which does  not recognize international boundary  could not have spread  to the Dutsinma Local government.

Political analysts believe  that if the district heads and religious leaders in Dutsin ma  local government Area  had taken a cue from what Usman Kankra Bello, the Kanwan Katsina and the district  head of Ketare   in Kankara government  Area of the state to take the sensitisation Campaign to curb the spread of the disease in his Community by Community, in order to monitor the movement of people in and out of the district , it would have been very difficult for a  suspected Nigerien victim of the disease to penetrate local government Area, let alone have contact with any person  without being identified quickly  and taken to an Isolation center in the state.

Perhaps, to ensure that the restrictions of movement in the Dutsin ma local government  and the  shut- down of the  border markets and other weekly activities in the state a was not flouted, an aggrieved Masari  was said to have directed  the  security agencies personnel in  including  theCustoms and Nigerian Immigration Services , NIS, personnel   to ensure strict  Compliance  with the restrictions of movement  of persons  coming into the state  through all borders with Niger. This is bad news for the people of Maradi Province  in  Niger.

Recall that Zakari Oumoru, the governor of the  Maradi Province  had on several occasions hosted cross-border meetings which was said to have been attended by  the governors of Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara states to tackle cross border crimes, particular, banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling.

 But with the out break of the COVID 19 and  the rising cases of the disease , in the West African countr, which is a threat to the north western geopolitical region Nigerian states, Oumoru, the governor of Maradi, may have to work more closely with the Nigerian governors to control the movement of Nigeriens into the states to curb the spread of the disease into Nigeria.

Going by the WHO updated records on Friday, April 17, 2020,  no fewer than 2, 218, 590 people had contacted the disease which had spread to over 210 countries  while 149 , had died  as a result of the disease but 560,867 , was said to have recovered from it.  

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Stephen Ubanna

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