Journalists in Kano State have decried the lack of adequate information about the activities of Kano State Task-force on COVID-19, lamenting that it is difficult to get tangible news out of the body.
Almost all working journalists in the state who spoke with Judicial Sketch said the task-force has no spokesperson with whom they would relate to get information. When our reporter asked them about their contact person in the task-force, they answered differently.
Some said they reach out to the press secretary to the governor or deputy governor, while others said they call the commissioner for health or the coordinator of the task-force, Dr. Tijjani HUssaini, or even the chairman, Nasiru Gawuna.
A frustrated journalist said “I am so fed up already. My organization keeps calling me every day for information. They keep demanding for this detail or that, but I cannot provide any serious detail because I just don’t know who to talk to. It appears the task-force was hoarding information.”
Another journalist said “Sometimes we rely mainly on speculations since there is no constant briefing and there is no contact person among them. It is a bit untidy.”
“There is something I was asked to write about the mobile court that was said to have been put in place to try violators of lockdown order, but for almost a week now, no one was willing to tell me anything. I keep asking different people, but none appears to know anything about it. Worse still, there is no definite person to relate with journalists.”
A lawyer in the state, Usman Umar Fari said “pandemic situations like the one we are facing today demands that people are updated daily by those running their affairs. It is a right. The only scanty things they tell people come from the Twitter handle of the ministry of health.”
He said “if the ministry of health is the one to update people, then the COVID-19 task-force is useless.”
Fari expressed worries that there was no measure put in place to ensure substantial compliance with the lock-down order, saying the viral video about “hundreds of people gathering to play a football match during the pendency of the lock-down order was an indictment.”
He noted that “another viral video allegedly of people in isolation centre making mockery of the COVID-19 and their positive status was equally an indication that there was no proper orientation.
“You cannot just take people to a place without giving them proper orientation about why they are there. You need to let them know that, yes, they may not be feeling any symptoms but they have the virus and if not managed, they may become critical cases and perhaps loss their lives. I am not medical personnel, but I know that lack of orientation was bad for a patient kept in isolation without information” he said, adding that such videos have the danger of misleading the populace to think that the pandemic is a joke.