By Musa Sunusi Ahmad
The Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy group-: HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has warned that the Federal Government must never be cowed by the bellicose nature of the Kano state governor Abdullahi Ganduje and compromise on the imperative of scientifically ascertaining with empirical certainty the remote and immediate cause of the spike in unaccounted high death tolls in Kano state in the past few days.
HURIWA said it will be a grave threat to national security and to the lives of all Nigerians should President Muhammadu Buhari accept the primitive and highly unscientific demand from Governor Ganduje that medically verifiable means of the exact causes of the unexplained deaths in the Northern state should not be adopted based on some nebulous religious/and or cultural grounds even when over half a dozen academic Professors died in an unexplained circumstances in Kano alongside other citizens of th
e Federal Republic of Nigeria governed under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 as amended.
HURIWA reminded the Kano state governor and President Muhammadu Buhari that Section 10 of the grund norm of Nigeria ABSOLUTELY PROHIBITS THE ELEVATION OF ANY RELIGION AS A STATE RELIGION even as the Rights group said under the Quarantine Act of 1926 only SCIENTIFIC METHODS and not cultural methods are to be used to verify the cause of unnatural high toll of deaths amongst the Kano State populace.
“Kano State is a state within Nigeria and in Nigeria the Constitution is supreme just as all other cultural practices that run contrary to constitutional provisions are to be jettisoned just as HURIWA reminded the Federal government that the reason for waging war on terror against the boko haram terror elements was because they failed to accept that the CONSTITUTION IS SUPREME and it’s provisions sacrosanct and inviolable even as the Rights group wonders why the Kano state governor will be permitted the Constitution by opting for unscientific methods to ascertain the exact cause of deaths of some Nigerians.
“Nigeria can’t be seen playing double standards with the health of over 200 million Nigerians because of some belief system or culture that is against the legally approved scientific way of knowing what the exact cause of deaths in Kano is with a view to stopping it from spreading to other parts of Nigeria.”
HURIWA said that: “Ascertaining the cause of the sudden deaths in Kano is not a big deal. The teaching hospital in Kano certainly has trained pathologists who can carry out the investigations. Firstly, because of the ravaging Covid -19 pandemic, there is already a high index of suspicion, Hence, samples from the oropharyngeal areas should be taken and tested for SARS-Cov-2 Virus. But this has to be done immediately after the demise. If the results come out positive for the virus they may not need to do a full autopsy. But since the government is claiming that the deaths are not due to COVID-19, they can as well prove that by taking blood from the deceased, and if the blood is already clothed, they will find plasma/serum in the heart, or they can use other body fluids like vitreous humor from the eye ball or even urine from the bladder and subject them to test and determine the cause of death. If these do not yield any result with respect to the cause of death, then a complete autopsy should be carried out and tissues should be taken and analysed. There should be no excuse as to why the cause of the deaths in Kano state should not be ascertained except the government wants to play politics with a serious public health issues. Autopsies are carried out even on decomposing bodies. Bodies are exhumed for the purpose of autopsy”.
HURIWA condemned the Kano State Governor, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, who on Monday, directed the state Ministry of Health to conduct “verbal autopsy” of those who lost their lives to various strange ailments over the weekend.
HURIWA recalled that the state Commissioner for Information, Mallam Muhammad Garba, who made the disclosure in a statement made available to newsmen in Kano on Monday, said a combined team from the state Ministry of Health and the National Centre for Disease Control have been drafted to eight local government areas within the Kano Emirate Council to perform the autopsy exercise even as he stated that he was pleased to inform the good people of Kano state that verbal autopsy to determine the real cause of the deaths of our citizens who lost their lives over the weekend has begun in earnest.”
HURIWA has therefore rejected this unorthodox and absolutely unscientific resort to the so called verbal autopsy when the issue at hand is such a grave threat to the lives of over 200 million Nigerians if not handled in line with the best global practices.