KANO Central Mosque appeared like a ghost town today as Muslims across the metropolis shunned today’s weekly Friday Jumat prayers after the recent revelation that the coronavirus pandemic is now prevalent in the state.
Yesterday, Kano has became third most impacted state in Nigeria within a space of under a week. Later on in the day, the Kano State government announced one death case and 11 additional positive cases, putting the total figure of people infected with the virus at 21, although the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) published conflicting figures of 16 confirmed cases and no deaths.
As a result of the spread, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje announced a seven day lockdown in the state with effect from yesterday, warning that violators would be arrested. It appears that the combination of the lockdown and the fear of contracting the virus has forced residents to shun the weekly prayers, which have been a feature of the city ever since it became part of the Songhai Empire un 1513.
By far the most populated city in northern Nigeria, Kano has more Muslims that any other metropolis in the country and its famous mosque right next to the emir’s palace is a centre of its cultural life. Every Friday, the mosque is a beehive of activities where people not only worship but also engage in some commercial activities.
Today, however, it was totally deserted. Announcing the lockdown earlier in the week, Salihu Yakasai, Governor Ganduje’s spokesman, said that security agencies in the state had been ordered to ensure full enforcement and no movement would be tolerated.
Kano State confirmed its index case on April 11after a former diplomat was said to have travelled to Lagos, Abuja and Kaduna and returned to the state on March 25. Apparently, the virus spread across Kano State when the index case had several engagements with family, friends and close associates and also attended a wedding fatiha and Juma’at prayer.