Northern governors under the aegis of the Northern Governors Forum has banned the almajiri system of education over the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the region.
This was disclosed in a statement issued by Makut Simon Macham, Director of Press and Public Affairs to Simon Lalong, Chairman of the forum and Governor of Plateau State, on Tuesday.
The decision was reached after the governors had a meeting via teleconferencing in deference to the social distancing protocols established by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
According to the statement, the governors decided to ban the almajiri system over fears that the children enrolled in the various centres could be exposed to the virus.
“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,” the statement read.
The governors also called for the need for the region to access special funding, palliatives, testing centres and other forms of support to assist the region deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Governor Lalong said he had discussed the aforementioned issues with President Muhammadu Buhari and got assurance of the Federal Government’s support on the Coronavirus response and under other incentives to farmers in the various states.
The governors 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 easier and faster.
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.