Federal Govt. Urge Northern Governors To Halt Interstate Movement Of Almajirais
The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has advised governors to suspend interstate movement of Almajirai so as not to frustrate efforts to combat the pandemic.
The Chairman of the task force and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, who gave the advice at the PTF press briefing in Abuja yesterday urged the Northern Governors to suspend further movement of Almajirai from one state to another.
Recall that the Northern Governors’ Forum had in a statement issued after its meeting on April 21 unanimously decided to ban the Almajirai system of education.
They decided that the children should be sent back to their parents or states of origin.
States, which have been repatriating the Almajirai back to their states of origin include Kano and Nasarawa.
But some of the children have been diagnosed with COVID-19. For example, On May 2, the Kaduna State Government said 21 out of 61 Almajirai deported to the state from Kano tested positive for the virus.
Besides, some of the children are being hidden in vehicles carrying food and brought to the South, a development southern states have frowned upon.
Expressing concern about the development, the SGF said, “This is not the time for movement of Almajirai because of interstate lockdown. If you say interstate movements are banned, I don’t think that movements of Almajirai are essential movements.”
Mustapha urged state governments to align their actions and enforcement with the guidelines provided by the PTF.
“The virus does not respect boundaries neither does it respect status. All state governments are, therefore, urged to strengthen their monitoring and enforcement machinery in collaboration with the security agencies,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has called on the Federal Government to stop northern governors from deporting Almajirai from their states.
The House made the call at the plenary on Tuesday following the unanimous adoption of a motion moved by Mrs Aishatu Dukku and Mr Shehu Kakale on the need to halt interstate movement of Almajirai.
Adopting the motion, the House resolved to “urge the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to enforce the interstate travel ban order (by the President) and direct the governors concerned to immediately halt the evacuation of the Almajirai.”
The House also urged the National Centre for Disease Control to “counsel the governors concerned on the threat posed by the evacuation of the children at this critical period.”
The legislative chamber further urged the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management to “include the Almajirai children among the beneficiaries of palliatives being distributed by the Federal Government to the less-privileged.”
Also, the House urged the Federal Ministry of Health to examine the health condition of the Almajirai children.
It urged the Northern Governors’ Forum to “rescind their decision on banning the system of education until those already in the system are provided for in the Universal Basic and Technical Education System.”
Moving the motion, Dukku recalled that governors, under the aegis of the Northern Governors’ Forum, had on April 21, 2020, issued a statement where they unanimously decided to ban the Almajirai system.
Dukku said, “The House is worried that the evacuation of the Almajirai is jeopardising the fight against COVID-19 due to the high level of movement of the children from different places and its attendant high risk of infection. The House is concerned that the evacuation of the children is against their fundamental human rights of residing anywhere in Nigeria as guaranteed in Chapter IV of the Constitution.”