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Northern Elders Forum has said it shares the nation’s concern over the daily rise in verified cases of infections from COVID-19 all over the country, but in parts of Kano State in particular, expressing worries that the virus is spreading in Kano beyond available medical capacity and personnel.
Frowning that medical facilities in Kano State have been shut down, the Forum condoled families who have lost members to the pandemic, and prayed for the full recovery of others who have tested positive to the virus.
The Convener of the Northern Elders Forum, Professor Ango Abdullahi who spoke in a statement on Thursday said the “forum commends the efforts of the Federal Government towards addressing the alarming situation in Kano, and notes that these efforts are vital in limiting the further escalation of infections in the entire North and the country.”
The statement made available to The Street Reporters Newspaper noted that in particular, the forum commends the decision “to deploy a strong medical team to, among others, verify the causes of many deaths that are being popularly attributed to the pandemic, as well as assist the government of Kano State to improve its facilities, investigations and treatment of suspected infections and those who are infected.”
The Northern Elders further commended the decision of the federal government to source for equipments and facilities on behalf of the Kano State government, and urged that it is executed with speed and openness.
“We are aware that medical facilities in Kano and personnel that would ordinarily attend to ailments that could be life-threatening have been shut down because of the pressure in dealing with the pandemic and the absence of Protective Personal Equipment (PPEs).
“Citizens with other ailments cannot get medical attention due to restricted availability of spaces, equipment and, more important, personnel.
“Testing and preparation of isolation centers are far behind the rate of spread of the virus, and these need to be addressed with the resources of the government of Kano State, the federal government and public-spirited individuals and corporate individuals.
“We cannot over-emphasize the need for government of Kano State to take steps to regain confidence and support of the citizens of the State; to open its medical assets and give medical personnel the protection and confidence and other resources they need, and support the population to stay at home and observe other regulations with material support.
“Government of Kano State also needs to improve its strategic communication strategies.
“These will include higher levels of openness with regards to causes of recent deaths, and more effective means of convincing the public over the realities of the dangers we all face.
“The Forum regrets the appearance of attempts by many State Governments to play politics with numbers for what appears to be expectations that more funds from federal government and foreign donors will be allocated to them.
“It is public knowledge that what the entire nation needs are good policies that protect all Nigerians; equipment and facilities for testing and treatment and resources to support people who will find it hard to stay at home without some palliatives during lockdowns.
“These requirements can be met with resources currently available, but they need to be put at the service of the public in a transparent and professional manner.
“Policies that waste progress in some parts of the country and others which trample on the rights of vulnerable groups must be discouraged.
“States should adopt policies that suit their peculiarities, but the nation as a whole must agree on, and implement basic policies that protect the entire population, the statement stated.
The Forum also acknowledged the assistance, in funds and equipment, from the international community.
According to the forum, such gestures of support for government efforts “at a time when they face their own problems are particularly appreciated, and it is important that our governments put them to prompt and effective use.
“The Forum similarly appreciates the tremendous assistance of Nigerian individuals and corporate bodies in this fight.
“We hope that all governments will utilize the vast assets in expertise, goodwill and integrity available in the private sector and professional groups and individuals in the country, and involve them in all stages in the fight against this pandemic.
“The Forum emphasizes the absolute priority of managing the Kano State situation better. It is concerned over widening distances between the government and most citizens.
“It advises the government of Kano State to bridge these distances through imaginative and practical steps that will convince citizens that it cares about them.
“The Forum appeals to all citizens to respect official directives in their own interests, and exercise greater discipline in the manner they protect themselves and their families”, the statement added.