Musa Abubakar used to dig two or three graves a day at the main cemetery in the northern Nigerian city of Kano. Then overnight it became 40.
“I have never witnessed mass deaths like this,” the 75-year-old said, his white kaftan muddied from his work at the Abbatuwa cemetery, where he has dug graves for 60 years. “From the first day of Ramadan to date, over 300 people have been buried.”
A reported jump in Kano’s death toll by more than 600 in one week in April sent alarm bells ringing across Nigeria’s second-largest city and beyond. Local government officials denied that a coronavirus outbreak was the cause and claimed the death toll reports had been exaggerated. But in Abbatuwa, the gravediggers were running out of space.