From David Adenuga Bauchi
Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed on Sunday confirmed the death of 150 people in Azare, headquarters of Katagum Local Government, in the last 30 days.
He said they died of hypertension and other related diseases.
Although, he said the deaths were not linked to Coronavirus, he explained that Azare recorded 27 positive cases out of the 44 new cases announced for the state by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Saturday night.
As a result of this, Katagum, Giade and Zaki local government areas will be on lockdown from tomorrow.
Deputy Governor Baba Tela has also been dispatched to Azare to supervise testing and the enforcement of the lockdown.
Tela said the situation was being blown out of proportion.
At the weekend, a former House of Representatives member Ibrahim Baba reported the “massive outbreak of coronavirus” in Azare.
He said the town recorded over 100 COVID-19 deaths in one week alone, creating panic among residents.
In a similar letter to the governor, the Deputy Public Relations Officer (P.R.O) of the State Asset and Recovery Committee, Musa Azare, claimed that 301 fresh graves were dug at the Azare Cemetery in the “last 14 days.”
Azare who posted the letter on his Facebook wall, said: “Information reaching me from Azare says that as at on Sunday there were 301 fresh graves in the Azare cemetery, dug in the last 14 days.”
He claimed to have verified the information from multiple sources.
But the governor told reporters at the Government House, in Bauchi, that about 150 had died so far in the last 30 days according to a report received from the committee set up to investigate the strange deaths.
Mohammed said: “We have reviewed the rumour about Azare that it has become a morgue; it’s not true, we have gotten the statistics of the death in the last 30 days.
“About 150 died in Azare, an average of about eight death per day and most of them we have found the causes to arising from hypertension, and other related diseases, it’s not true that people are falling and dying in Azare, even if that is the situation, we are moving there as a government.”
He said the lockdown in Katagum and two other Local Government Areas, “is sequel to the massive deaths and community transmission of coronavirus which has risen.”
The governor said: “Just yesterday (Saturday) some tests were returned for some areas, especially Azare and Giade and we discovered out of 44 new cases, 27 tested positive for coronavirus in Azare, about seven from Giade and other places. And we discovered that this is as a result of community transmission and there was a widespread rumour that Azare was becoming very bad in terms of hygiene.
“As a result, we are thereby enforcing a total lockdown of Katagum, Giade and Zaki Local Government Areas for the period of 10 days to enable us enforce our contact tracing , quarantined the people suspected to have the virus and establish a robust and durable administration of managing the situation.
“During the period, we will also spray and decontaminate the towns in the affected local government areas, we would embark on massive testing of residents , and we have already delegated about seven committees to be headed by the deputy governor to stay in Azare during the period of the lockdown to see that our aim is achieved. We are calling on the security agencies especially the military garrison in Azare to help us with the total lockdown.”