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COVID-19: Northern Governors Ban Almajiri System

From Jude Dangwam, Jos

The Northern Governors Forum (NGF) has unanimously banned the old Almajiri learning system in the Northern part of Nigeria considering the risk they are often exposed to and with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in some states within the region.

The Forum has ordered the repatriation of all Almajiris to their respective states of origin as well as parents, while those who are orphans within a state are to be taken care of by the state government.

The Northern Governors Forum stated this through the Director of Press and Public Affairs to its Chairman, Dr. Makut Simon Macham at the end of their meeting held via teleconference on Wednesday and Chaired by Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State.

Macham said as part of the far reaching resolutions of the Forum, after discussing the risk that Almajiri children were exposed to, “they have unanimously decided to totally ban the Almajiri system and evacuate the children to their parents or States of origin.

“They agree to take a cue from Kano, Kaduna and Nasarawa States who have since commenced the returning of Almajiri children to families and States of origin, while those within their States who do not have parents are taken care of by the Government.

“They (Northern Governors) vowed never to allow the system persist any longer because of the social challenges associated with it including the perpetuation of poverty, illiteracy, insecurity and social disorder,” he stated.

The Governors also raised concerns over the ongoing security challenges especially with the recent activities of bandits, Boko Haram insurgents, Kidnappers and other criminals that have posed great threat to farmers who are afraid to go to their farms now that raining season is at hand, a development that could lead to food insecurity within the region.

The meeting also engaged the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Alhaji Muhammed Sabo Nanono on the incentives available to Nigerian Farmers and how those in their region could benefit.

Macham said the Minister outlined all the agricultural programmes of the Federal Government which include, “provision of farm inputs and fertilizers, cluster farming, training and deployment of extension workers, provision of rural roads, value chain addition, development of irrigation facilities, agro-mechanization and mobilization of agro-rangers,” respectively.

The Forum also noted with dismay, the rapid deforestation in the region and resolved to take tougher measures to curtail the situation in addressing environmental challenges such as the over growing cases of desertification in the region.

The meeting further discussed the issue of COVID-19 Testing Centres within the Northern Region where it noted some improvement, but insisted that all States in the region should have at least one centre in order to make the detection of the disease and its management much easier and faster.

The Northern Governors retained their earlier decision for the States to individually decide on the measures to adopt, but reaffirmed the need for border closures to stop inter-state spread of the disease, which is rising in the region.

The meeting is the second of its kind in one month when the 19 Northern State Governors Forum met to discuss the region’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic and evaluate some of the measures adopted by each State to deal with the situation as cases of the novel coronavirus in the region are on the rise on a daily basis.

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