Northern governors have banned the Almajiri system across the 19 Northern states as part of measures to combat spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the region.
This was even as the governors unanimously agreed to evacuate the children to their parents or states of origin, noting that the almajiri children were exposed to novel disease.
The governors reached the decision during a teleconference convened by Governor of Plateau State and Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum (NGF), Simon Lalong on Tuesday.
According to spokesman to the Lalong, Makut Simon Macham, who disclosed details of the meeting in a press statement, the teleconference had 17 governors in attendance.
The statement read: “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.
“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.”
During the meeting, the governors canvassed for more COVID-19 testing centres in the Northern region, noting that all states in the area should have at least one centre.
This comes against the backdrop of the rising cases of the pandemic in Nigeria. As of Tuesday night, Nigeria has 782 confirmed cases of COVID-19, out of which 197 have been discharged while 25 people have died from the virus.