Paul Orude, Bauchi
There seems to be no respite for the people of Azare in Katagum Local Government Area of Bauchi State as 23 additional confirmed deaths have brought the total number of deaths in the town to 173.
The new figure, which was released to Daily Sun by Abdullahi Othman Imam, the Secretary, Graveyard of Azare, on Wednesday, pooh-poohed an earlier figure of 301 that was peddled in the media.
The authentic figure of deaths is still considered unusually high and worrisome by residents and has further added to their fears.
A noticeable pattern of the mysterious deaths in Azare, as accounts of family and statistics obtained by our correspondent revealed, indicate that elderly persons from 60 years and above are the most affected.
According to statistics released by Othman Imam to Daily Sun, on May 10th, nine people died in Azare, seven of which were aged above 60.
The next day, out of four recorded deaths, two were above 60 years, while of the 10 who died between May 12th and 13th, five were above 60-years-old.
“It is very clear that there have been rampant cases of mysterious deaths, especially in the last 20 days in Azare,” a resident, Ahmed Alhaji Azare, told our correspondent in Azare.
Ahmed Azare, who was at the graveyard to attend a funeral on Monday, said he saw two other people who died being buried the same day.
He recalled that similar unusual deaths occurred about seven years ago.
“It was precisely during the same fasting (Ramadan) period because the season was very hot, but it was not as high as this one,” Azare, a lecturer with Aminu Saleh College of Education, Azare said.
The atmosphere has been sombre in Azare since the occurrence of the deaths which has claimed many prominent residents since April 24th.
An investigation by Daily Sun investigation also unearthed another strange pattern as the deaths occurred only in Azare town, while residents of nearby Chinede and Madara districts confirmed that they have not recorded any deaths.
Communities outside Azare town say they have not recorded any death in the last 21 days.
A representative of the village head of Kujuri community, a distance of about 10 kilometres from Azare town, Mohammed Mohammed, said no single death has been recorded in his domain.
“I can confirm to you that in the past one month, nobody has died in Kujuru,” Mohammed told our correspondent in Kujuru on Tuesday.
Alhaji Shehu Abubakar, the head of Kakudi nearby community, also confirmed to Daily Sun that no resident was buried in the graveyard for months.
While the town has been on lockdown amidst fear of the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), residents appealed to the government to quickly investigate the causes of the unusually high deaths in Azare to prevent further occurrences.