Governors across northern states have agreed to ban the almajiri system as part of efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.
This formed part of the discussion at a meeting convened via teleconference by Simon Lalong, governor of Plateau state and chairman of the northern governors’ forum, on Tuesday.
The meeting had 17 governors in attendance.
Makut Simon Macham, director of press and public affairs to the Plateau governor, disclosed details of the meeting in a press statement issued on Tuesday night.
“On border control and lockdown measures, the Northern Governors retained their earlier decision for the States to individually decide on the measure to adopt, but reaffirmed the need for border closures to stop the inter-state spread of the disease, which is rising in the region,” it read.
“The Governors also discussed the risk that Almajiri children are exposed to because of the Coronavirus disease where they unanimously decided to totally ban the Almajiri system and evacuate the children to their parents or States of origin.
“They agreed to take a cue from Kano, Kaduna and Nasarawa States who have begun returning 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 vowed never to allow the system to persist any longer because of the social challenges associated with it, including the perpetuation of poverty, illiteracy, insecurity and social disorder.”
Lalong also said he had discussed with President Muhammadu Buhari concerning the need for the region to access special funding, palliatives, testing centres and other forms of support to assist the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The governors were also said to have discussed about COVID-19 testing centres within the north, advocating that all states in the region should have at least one centre.