Amidst COVID-19, Kano repatriates 251,893 almajiris

Some Almajiri beggars in Kano

As fears grow over the increasing spread of Corona in Kano, the state Government has identified over 251,893 almajiris for eventual evacuation and repatriation to their various states of origin.

Almajiris are itinerant students of Qur’anic schools who are also commonly associated with street begging and child labour in Nigeria.

These children are largely categorised among Nigeria’s out-of-school children because they either have never enrolled in or dropped out of the Western styled basic education.

Compared with other states, Kano is home to the highest number of such children in Nigeria.

The government had in February banned street begging as part of measures to reform the system and even threatening to punish parents who abandon their children to destitution.

The government said that such children were identified from across eight metropolitan local government areas, where they are largely concentrated in the state.

Speaking while presenting reports of different committees set up by the government to stem the spread of the pandemic, the State Commissioner for Local Governments, Murtala Sule Garo, said out of the identified numbers of Almajiris 79,411 are indigenes of the state, while 178,472 are non-indigenes.

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The government also warned that they would not hesitate to deal decisively with anybody found spreading unverified information, pointing out, that the matter at hand was that of life and death.

The State Deputy Governor, Nasiru Gawuna, expressed dismay over why some people in the state were found of intentionally trying to create panic among the citizens by peddling fake news.

Gawuna said: “One of the Media Houses just reported that Kano people are trooping to the State Isolation Center at Kwanar Dawaki for them to be tested while the same medium reported that the Committee Chairman, a renowned Medical personal tested positive, which were are all lies”.

Governor Abdullahi Ganduje said Kano has taken three majors to fight the pandemic, which includes proactive, preventive and indeed isolation.

Ganduje explained that with the lockdown of the state, it will avail health by locking down workers easy contact tracing to identify those that most have been infected for test,as well as those positive.

“You can see how today in Kano, the Pandemic is being multiplied from one to 37. Today, this is serious case that calls for serious measures with the establishment of three isolation centres at Dawakin Kudu with 70 beds, Muhammadu Buhari hospital with 100 beds and the Sani Abacha centre with 500 centres.”

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