The strange deaths in Kano have continued despite assurances from the government that there is no cause for alarm.
For the second week running, residents have recorded deaths, especially among the elite. Tijjani Yola (pictured), spiritual head of the Murtala Mohammed Central Mosque in Kano, is one of the persons to have died recently.
A family told TheCable that the renowned cleric died in the early hours of the day.
“He passed away at his residence in Gwale quarters in Kano in the early hours of today and was laid to rest around 9am,” the source said.
Abdullahi Umar, a Kano resident, also confirmed the death of the cleric, saying people are in a sad mood in the ancient city.
“The death of Sheik Yola has left a big vacuum. He was managing one of the largest mosques in Kano. He was well known for his oral poetry extolling the virtues of Prophet Muhammad… Everything that happens in life is from Allah but this is shocking,” Umar said.
TheCable also learnt that Uba Adamu, father of the vice-chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), died in the early hours of Tuesday.
Adamu Sarawa, former speaker of Jigawa state house of assembly, is also among the bigwigs who have lost their lives in Kano. TheCable learnt that he died on Monday. Details of his death are sketchy.
Amid the wave of strange deaths, Halima Shittu, former chairperson of the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN), Kano chapter, also lost her life.
Shittu reportedly died at her residence at NNDC quarter on Tuesday morning and has been buried in accordance with Islamic rites.
The government of Kano, which had initially denied the rising deaths later described the situation as a serious but attributed the deaths to acute fever, hypertension and diabetes.
But the fact that the incidents happened during the coronavirus pandemic has made some residents worried. Before the laboratory where COVID-19 tests were conducted in the state was shut, Kano recorded 77 cases of the disease.
The laboratory, which has reportedly been reopened, was shut due to the exposure of some health officials to COVID-19 cases.
On Monday, the Kano government announced that “verbal autopsy” had commenced to ascertain the causes of the deaths.
In a nationwide broadcast on Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered a total lockdown of the state for two weeks, saying investigation into the deaths was ongoing.
Femi Falana, human rights lawyer, has asked the federal government to publish the report of the panel probing the deaths in Kano.