The battle against Coronavirus siege on Kano is taking a ‘civil society’ turn with the “Kano Against Covid-19” platform emerging as citizens and civil society initiative on the matter. The initiative which has been in the making is formally stepping out with the declaration that the state “appears to be in a full scale community transmission with many deaths recorded in the last two to three weeks”.
It is locating this in what it calls “profound series of misunderstanding of the disease in Kano” which it is set to overwhelm by working with key stakeholders such as the State Government, traditional rulers, religious leaders and the media. That way, the amalgam hopes to combat the epidemic through information warfare.
Of recent, civil society participation in social dynamics has been dominated by the debate about what power resource the advocacy merchants have got. Interestingly, the management of pandemics is where the civil society has made the most striking input since 2003, mysterious decentering state power and even the WHO in the management of SARS in 2003 in ways that have been really fascinating. This initiative could thus be a Nigerian case study depending on how strikingly successful it turns out.
Thematised around structures such as the Governance and Delivery Framework, Deploying Technology and Innovation to Address the Pandemic, Community mobilisation and public awareness, Health Management of the Pandemic and so on, the initiative would be working with stakeholders to popularize the advisory delivered by the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) for example, on the interment of possible victims of COVID-19 pandemic, (containing safer and Islamically legitimate ways of washing, shrouding carrying out Janazah prayers for suspected Covid-19 victims). It would equally work with NCDC to supplementing or enforcing protocols compliant with the NCDC guidelines for burials, amongst others.
The process has already started with series of intensive virtual meetings and consultations with these and other bodies as in the case of the Monday 4th May, 2020 strategy meeting by 72 persons, among them community leaders, professionals of various backgrounds and civil society leaders. The meeting in question enjoyed briefing from Dr. Sani Aliyu, National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, Dr. Nasir Sani Gwarzo, Head of the Presidential Task Force to Kano along with his colleague, Dr. Mukhtar Mohammed; Prof. Musa Mohammed Borodo, the Head of the Scientific Committee of the Kano State Government on Covid-19 as well as Ms Zouera Youssoufou, CEO of Aliko Dangote Foundation.
But the initiative did not forget to mention that it is obvious that there was inadequate preparation at the state level and control measures were ineffective. It laments lack of clear messaging to the citizens, notes discordant tunes from some religious and community leaders expressing doubts about the existence of the disease, all of which folded into the ineffectual enforcement of the lockdown subsequently introduced by the State authorities.
Expected to transform both the grand ideas and specific tasks into productive outcomes are the big names associated with the initiative as listed in the statement to that effect. They include Members of Alhaji Bashir Othman Tofa; Alhaji Abba Dabo; Prof. M. Y. Bello, VC, BUK; Dr. Shamsuddeen Usman; Prof. Fatima B. Mukhtar, VC, FUD; Hajuya Fatima Wali Abdulrahman; Isyaku Umar Tofa, Danadala; Sule Yahaya Hamma; A. B. Mahmoud SAN and Prof. A. Yadudu.
These are the members of the Governing structure while the members of the Steering Committee include Prof Jibrin Ibrahim; A, B. Mahmoud SAN; Prof. Awwalu. Yadudu; Prof Mohammed Tabiu; Maryam Uwais; Prof Mahmoud Sani; Aisha Oyebode; Amal Hassan and Y. Z. Ya’u.