Fear in Borno as COVID-19 reportedly kills Emir, Lawmaker

By Bode Olushegun
Fear has again gripped Borno State as rumour filtered into town that the Shehu of Bama, Alhaji Kyari Elkanemi, and a member of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Wakil Bukar, died from COVID-19.
The fear of the people of the town was compounded as there seemed to be a conspiracy by the State Government to hide the cause of death of the two personalities from the people
Sources from the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital revealed to our correspondent that the Shehu and the lawmaker representing Nganzai local government died from novel COVID-19 shortly after they were admitted at the hospital.
The news of their death was no secret among many residents of Maiduguri who felt unhappy that the government could not come out to announce the cause of their death.
Some of those who spoke to our correspondent, on condition of anonymity, lamented that with the secrecy about their death, it would be difficult for the state government to go about tracing theur contacts.
Some of them even stated that it was shirking of responsibility by the state government to have allowed their corpses to be buried without following the laid down  procedures for such burial.
A respondent said: “You may need to blame the government if there is a rise in cases of those that test positive for COVID-19 after this great infraction.”
The Commissioner of Home Affairs, Culture and Information, Alhaji Babakura Abba-Jato while announcing the death of the Shehu on Monday, promised that the cause of his death would be announced after the result of the test for COVID-19 might have been known.
He said it was “normal practice for a test to be conducted on the corpse of anyone now to determine if it was COVID-19 in order not to risk the health of others.”
But when question was raised on the cause of death of the Shehu of Bama during the daily media briefing on COVID-19 on Tuesday, the Borno Commissioner of Health, Dr. Salisu Kwaya-Bura, failed to volunteer any information.
He told the bewildered journalists who felt that some of their colleagues might have had contact with the deceased Shehu a few days ago during the death of the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, a prominent indigene of Bama, that his professional ethics did not give him the leverage to reveal such information.
When he was informed by the journalists that they were earlier promised that the information would be released by the Information Commissioner, he said his ethic would not allow, “but perhaps the Commissioner for Information might have information for you.”
The Commissioner for Information did not however volunteer any information to journalists on the cause of death of the deceased ruler as he kept mute throughout the duration of the briefing.
Meanwhile, the Borno Elders Forum has condoled with the President, Borno Governor and the people of Borno State on the death of the Emir.
A statement by the group read: “We wishe to condole the entire people of Nigeria over the sudden demise of our farther, Shehu Kyari Ibn Ibrahim El-Kanemi,CON, on Monday, 27th April, 2020.
“The loss of a Royal Father of such great calibre is like losing a rich library of wisdom, an archieve of immeasureable collections and the disappearance of rich repository of culture, tradition and above all the data base of sprituality.
“We feel duty bound to particularly condole President Muhammadu Buhari, the Executive Governor of Borno State, the Shehu of Borno, the entire El-Kanemi Dynasty and all our Royal Fathers accross Nigeria.
“The immediate royal family of the late Shehu and the people of Bama emirate led by the Emirate Council should take heart.”
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