No, Dr Rilwanu Muhammed, Executive Chairman, Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency has goofed.
By: Lamara Garba Azare
Ordinarily, one would have ignore such a publication by a wave of a hand, knowing fully well that the people of Azare are decent, highly responsible and of good morals. But alas, the fact that the statement was credited to a public officer in the person of a medical practitioner who is occupying the position of Executive Chairman of a highly respected organisation serving the good people of Bauchi state. Moreover, the publication was carried in one of the reputable news organization, the Weekly Trust.
Therefore, allowing it unattended to, will amount to confirming what could at best be described as figment of the imagination of the authors, a concocted, baseless and extremely labelious publication.
To begin with, no human being in his right senses could even imagining contemplating that someone would think in his mind that upon all places, people of Azare would allow the decency in them to reduce to it’s lowest ebb by engaging in an act of abbortioning pregnancy and worse part of it illegal abortion.
To the astonishment of the people of Azare, we woke up on Saturday, May, 30th 2020 to a malicious publication appeared in one of the finest newspapers in Nigeria, the Weekly Trust with a caption that “Illegal abbortion is responsible for a mysterious death in Azare” At first, I could not believe my eyes, I thought it was an old edition of one of those junk soft selling magazine, not until when I go for the second checks that I it was indeed our once reputable Trust that carried the story. I was shocked beyond explanation not because of my affiliation with Azare, which is my hometown, but because of the gravity of the allegation. Which has adverse effect on morality. -Illegal abortion-
Indeed, it should be noted that aborting a pregnancy is a serious crime against humanity which should not be condone under whatever guise except those circumstances as prescribed by medical condition even at that, it can’t be illegal.
However, seeing such a caption in a reputable news media like a Weekly Trust must be shocking even to the most cynical of people and of course must provoke agitation especially from the right sensible men in the society. But, in all honesty, I doubt very much that the report in question was not referring to Azare town or any decent inhabitants and therefore believed that such a calous publication must have been what we called the printers devil in the journalism circle.
Certainly, no public officer in his right senses can carelessly and against every decorum came out and announced such a very grevious, unfounded and baseless fabrication of lies souch that a reputable news organization in the Calibre of Media Trust can have cause to published it.
Undoubtedly, when I saw the report two things quickly came to my mind which I believe that it’s the same feelings in the minds of every well meaning persons to which I quickly come to the apt conclusion that, either the author of the offending story- Hassan Ibrahim- the staff of the Media Trust, may have misquoted Dr. Rilwanu Mohammed, the Executive Chairman of Bauchi state Primary Health Care Development Agency (BSPHCDA), who allegedly made the statement or if really it was his wordings, then, Dr. Rilwanu must have a mental illness as at the time he uttered the statement.
In anyway, whatever may be, there is no two way about it that, certainly somebody somewhere was out for a mischief for reasons based known to the person whosoever was behind the concocted statement and must sooner or later pay for his sin.
Indeed, for the public officer to come out with such a recless statement an investigation must be conducted, now, Mr Rilwanu, whom we suspect was all out to discredit the good people of Azare as well as sow a seed of discord between Azare (Katagum) and Bauchi District. Perhaps, it is the believe of many that Mr Rilwanu who happens to be a relations of the Executive Governor of Bauchi State, Bala Muhammad was on a mission and only God knows how many Rilwanus do we have in the cabinet of Kauran Bauchi. God has started exposing them.
The question now are, who are members of the committee that conducted the preliminary investigations as he allegedly insinuated? When did the investigation conducted? Who authorised the conduct of the investigation and from which period? Without providing answers to these questions, one would not but conclude that either Dr Rilwanu had mental retardation and/or the reporter who carried the story was on a mission to disentegrate Bauchi state for deciding to allow himself to be used in dessiminating a concocted and ficticious news story.
I want to believe that the Executive Chairman didn’t make any effort to get into the roots of the death in Azare before he singled out Azare and attributed the mass death to illegal abortion in the town. In a town known for good morality, culture and centre of Islamic teachings.
It should be noted that prior to the deaths in Azare, similar incidence have been reported in towns across Kano, Sokoto, Borno, Katsina and Jigawa states among others. It was based on this that the federal government set up a committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Nasiru Sani Gwarzo to investigate the incidences with a view to finding a way of tackling it. However, in the course of carrying out the assignment the Sani Gwarzo Les committee extended it beamlight to the cases in Azare, Katsina, Maiduguri, Hadeja and other states in northern Nigeria to unravel the circumstances behind the mass deaths. Preliminary report released by the committee in all the places visited attributed the causes of the mass deaths to excessive heat, high grade fever, hard and dry cough among others occassioned by other ailments .
For the avoidance of doubt, people of Azare and by extension the entire Bauchi state are a community well cultured with high level of decency and morality embellish in Islamic religion and good civilisation.
Therefore, it is not only surprising but as well disgusting for a medical doctor to come out and say the people therein were irresponsible so much that they supported abbortion of pregnancy, Wa iyazubillah.
Luckily and for the avoidance of doubt, Azare town is one place that has the culture of keeping records of death at the cemetery and this was even attested to, by Dr. Gwarzo and his team when they visited the town, in which he said in all the places they visited across northern Nigeria, it was only in Azare that they met a well arranged policy of keeping records. And this system has been in place for many years.
The death register at the cemetery contains name of the deceased, age, gender, residence and the cause of death.
And to put the records straight, statistics has shown that between 4th April and 26th May, 2020 which was the period in which the mass deaths we’re witnessed. In that period a total of 457 deaths have been recorded at the central cemetery
However, for the avoidance of doubt, it is instructive to note that out of this figure, only 117 females died during the period under review which represents 25% of the total deaths. Interestingly, out of this figure, 106 of them were female children ages below 9 years and we all know that non of these falls under children bearing age therefore, abortion is a non issue in examining this group.
It was also worthy to note that the remaining 11 girls that died were age between 10 to 20 and it represents just 2% of the total death during the period under review. More importantly, also, only 2 girls died while giving birth or died of complication related to pregnancy but not abortion as insinuated by the man suspected to have mental retardation. Now, the nagging question begging for answer is where does the so called Chief Executive of the Health Agency got his information? He must proved to the world beyond reasonable doubt in order to support his claim, otherwise, he should be ready for a legal battle for damaging the esteem reputation and dignity of the people of Azare and Bauchi state as a whole.
I want submit that Dr. Rilwanu Mohammed had erred by misleading the populace through his reckless remarks and insinuation of concocting false and dangerous statement against the good people of Azare. He is mischievious and we expect the amiable Bauchi state Governor, Alhaji Bala Mohammed (Kauran Bauchi) to sanction, such a public servant, henceforth, for his careless, fabricated wrong statements which is capable of creating a deep animosity among the people of the state.
Firstly, we demand an unreserved apology from the careless Dr. Rilwanu Mohammed for damaging the good reputation of the people of Azare. Secondly, his actions had proven him to be incapable of holding such a sensitive office and of course need to be taken for phychiatric test to ascertain his mental balance, in fact,, a petition is on its way to the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, against Dr. Rilwanu for concocting a fake report thereby destroying and tarnishing good image of a well cultured, highly religious and well behaved people of Azare.
As for the Daily Trust, we demand that it should investigate it’s reporter who authored the story and let him take full responsibility of his action. As a reputable news organization, it has the honour of reassuring the confidence of readers that what it published are nothing but genuine and authentic.
Lamara Garba Azare, writes from Kafin Kuka, Azare