Fact-checking shows Kano deputy governor’s claim of sponsoring 52 indigent patients for eye surgery is false
In this report, Elijah Akoji of SOLACEBASE uncovered through Fact-Checking how Kano State deputy governor’s claim to have sponsored 52 patients for free eye surgery at Makkah Eye Clinic in Kano State, to be false, and misleading.
Investigation has shown that the Deputy Governor of Kano State Aminu Abdulssalam Gwarzo gave misleading information when he said that he had successfully sponsored 52 patients to undergo free eye surgery at Makkah Specialist Eye Clinic in Kano State.
The tweet made on X formerly known as Twitter on the 9th of September 2023 at 7:43 pm reads, “In keying into our administration’s commitment to providing access to quality healthcare for all, today, I sponsored 52 people to undergo free eye surgery at Makkah Specialist Eye Clinic, Kano.”
The tweet attracted over 10,000 Views, 67 Shares, 3 Quotes, 434 Likes, and 1 Bookmark.
While it’s been over a month since this claim was made, this investigation has shown that there is no evidence to show, as the management of Makkah Hospital has denied the claim attributing it to a mere political statement by the deputy governor of the state.
Findings have revealed that there is only one Makkah Eye Clinic in Kano State, managed by Al-Basar International Foundation a not-for-profit International Organization NGO with its headquarters located in Saudi.
SOLACEBASE visited Makkah Eye Clinic located at Gadon Gaya in Kano State to know how the sponsored patients are responding to treatment and the kind of treatments being administered to them. This is supposed to be an amplified success story of the gesture by the deputy governor but it is otherwise.
Unknown to the reporter, his visit was only going to herald information to the management of Makkah Eye Hospital who were never aware of the news or had received any patients under the Kano State government or deputy governor as sponsorship for treatment claimed.
According to a report, there are over 94 Million persons currently blind worldwide due to Cataracts.
A World Health Organisation (WHO), report said cataract is a leading cause of blindness, accounting for 94 million blind people worldwide.
In Nigeria, more than 1 million persons are blind and half of this number live in the North Eastern and North Western parts of the country.
At the Mallam Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH), a Federal Government-owned hospital in Kano State, about 60 new patients are usually diagnosed with cataracts weekly.
This explains the worrisome situation of cataract disease and the need for timely diagnosis and treatment, but while most of these patients are unable to afford the huge medical bills, government support becomes imperative.
Hospital Denies Claim
Yusuf Jibril Batsari, the Hospital Manager of Makkah Eye Clinic who is also serving as the Managing Director at the time this reporter visited, Batsari refuted the claim and revealed that the hospital is just knowing about it.
“This is indeed good news Batsari said, with so much excitement he asked, when are they coming with the patients, this looks like a huge contract for us, I am just kidding he said.
“We have not received any patients from the Kano State government either as a form of MOU or sponsorship to treat any patients since this administration came into power, so let us be hopeful that something huge is coming to our hospital, but for now, we don’t have any of such record or contract,” Batsari said.
When SOLACEBASE asked if such communication must have been carried out with the Managing Director of the hospital without the knowledge of the Hospital Manager who happens to be the second in command, Batsari categorically said, “If that has happened by now I should be aware, the MD will only receive such information and hand it over to me to treat and mobilize all the processes, I am telling you authoritatively now that we have not received any of such contract from the deputy governor or the Kano State government, not even a single person,” Batsari added.
Chief Press Secretary Frustrates Inquiry Process
If it is so difficult to speak to a Press Secretary, what will it be of his principal, it was such a herculean effort trying to reach the Press Secretary to the Deputy Governor of Kano State, who happens to be in the right position to respond to messages and then convey it to his principal for more clarity where he can’t give a response.
Several visits to the deputy governor’s office to verify this claim proved difficult to get someone to respond to questions.
Ibrahim Shuaibu, Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Governor was contacted through multiple channels but he never responded.
The reporter visited his office located at the Kano State deputy governor’s wing, on several occasion he was not on seat and when reached on the phone luckily again, he requested that the reporter should come to his office and see him, to no avail the reporter got to his office exactly at the scheduled time, he was still not on seat and his lines were not reachable.
He was later contacted via WhatsApp after he had requested that the reporter send him his concerns and questions via WhatsApp, Shuaibu never responded to the messages sent to him and this reporter could no longer reach him as he must have blocked the reporter from contacting him further on the matter after reading the Whatsapp messages sent to him.
This report was published with support from Civic Media Lab.