Northern Governors Seek More Coronavirus Testing Centres, Ban Of Almajiri System

Governors of Northern States in the country on Tuesday, called for more Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing centres in the north and banning of almajiri system for fear the children could be exposed to the disease.

A statement said, the call was made by the governors for the second time in a month through teleconferencing.

The statement said the meeting was presided by the Northern States Governors Forum Chairman, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau state.

According to the statement, Lalong, his colleagues, that based on their resolution at the last meeting, he had a discussion with President Muhammadu Buhari where he conveyed their concerns on 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.

He said the president assured him of the support of the federal government within the context of federal government programmes both under the coronavirus response and under other incentives to farmers and States.

The meeting further discussed the issue of COVID-19 Testing Centres within the Northern Region where it noted some improvement, but again 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 inter-state spread of the disease, which is rising in the region.

The governors also discussed the risk that Almajiri children are exposed to because of the pandemic.

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 persist any longer because of the social challenges associated with it including the perpetuation of poverty, illiteracy, insecurity and social disorder.

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