The Plateau state government said it has returned a total of 601 almajiris back to their home states.It should be noted that the Almajiris are students of the almajirai system of Islamic education practised in northern Nigeria.
In recent times, the importation of these students has caused some kerfuffle amongst state Governors, many who have decried the rate at which they infiltrate the borders of their states. Scores of them have also tested positive to the COVID-19 infection across Kano, Jigawa, Gombe and Taraba states.
Meanwhile, while addressing the people of Plateau on Sunday, the state Governor, Simon Lalong, announced that, in line with the decision of the Northern Governors, 601 almajiris have been evacuated from the state.
“On the profiling and return of Almajiris children, which commenced on 26th April 2020, we have made a lot of progress. So far, we have returned a total of 601 Almajiris to their States of origin to be tested, reunited with their families and properly cared for. The States include Kaduna (38), Bauchi (419), Kano (92), Jigawa (47), Gombe (5).”
Also, according to him, the state has received (119) Almajiris from other States. “We received (108) from Nasarawa State and (11) from Gombe State, who have been profiled, and tested. Out of this number, only one (1) tested positive to COVID-19 and is receiving treatment in one of the isolation facilities. The rest have been reunited with their families.”
Within the State, he said the state authorities have profiled 36 Almajiris who are indigenes of Plateau State and have been tested and returned them to their families.
While 25 are from Quan-Pan, the 11 others are from Wase Local Government Areas.”Let me again stress that the decision to carry out this evacuation was a collective one taken by Governors of the 19 Northern States during the meeting of the Northern Governors Forum in order to guarantee the safety of these children who were exposed to many dangers, including COVID-19.”
“It is disheartening that this noble and bold decision is being politicized by a few people who although claim to abhor the Almajiri system, choose for reasons best known to them to play to the gallery by pretending to be fighting for the human rights of these children.”
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Northern Governors are collectively committed to ensuring that all the Almajiri children returned to their States are profiled and tested for COVID-19 and other illnesses. Those who are positive are treated before being reunited with their families. At the end of the day, all Almajiris will be integrated into society seamlessly,” the statement read in parts.