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Resurgent tropes of denialism in Islamic Northern Nigeria: Initial responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in Northern Nigeria

Title
Resurgent tropes of denialism in Islamic Northern Nigeria: Initial responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in Northern Nigeria
Speaker(s)
Speaker: Ini Dele-Adedeji # University of Edinburgh
Hosted by
Introduced by
Date and Time
21st Oct 2020 16:00 - 21st Oct 2020 17:30
Location
Microsoft Teams
URL
http://www.cas.ed.ac.uk/events/seminar_series/2020_2021/resurgent_tropes_of_denialism_in_islamic_northern_nigeria_initial_responses_to_the_covid-19_pandemic_in_northern_nigeria

This paper is a critical interrogation of responses in Northern Nigeria, with an emphasis on Kano State, recorded during the peak period of the COVID-19 global pandemic in the earlier months of 2020. It explores the initial responses of scepticism and inaction by the Kano State government, other state governments in the northern region, some Islamic clerics who spouted denialist messages about the Coronavirus, and also popular initial responses amongst sections of the Muslim demographic in the focus study area. The paper frames its analysis of the collated responses in Northern Nigeria within the historical context of epidemiological denialism in Islamic spaces in the region, to rationalise the seeming scepticism held regarding the existence of COVID-19 and attempts at containing the virus.  

The paper details the nexus that exists between the religious and political space where epidemiological denialism in Islamic Northern Nigeria is concerned. The purpose of charting the linkages that connect the two aforementioned spaces in Northern Nigeria’s Islamic sphere is to: firstly, demonstrate the unique responses across various sections of the public sphere to the COVID-19 pandemic and how those responses have impacted on efforts to contain the spread of the Coronavirus. Secondly, analyse the impact the Kano State government’s response towards addressing the containment of the pandemic had in strengthening the spread of denialist tropes across a section of the Muslim demographic in Northern Nigeria. The paper argues that the initial denialist responses to the COVID-19 global pandemic in Kano, which in turn led to the spread of COVID-19 in the state and its environs, were as a result of the failure of the state government to counter the conspiracy theories already making the rounds by enacting proactive policies and enforcing health agency guidelines.  

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