By Therese Nanlong – Jos
Despite the call by some members of the National Assembly that almajirai should not be repatriated to their respective States due to the increasing cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Governors from the 19 States in the North under the aegis of the Northern Governors’ Forum have resolved to continue with the exercise with strict compliance to laid down protocols.
The Governors urged that they should all strictly follow laid down protocols for profiling, quarantining, testing, transportation, handing and taking over as well as reintegration of the almajirai.
The Governors spoke during their 4th teleconference meeting on Wednesday to review the region’s COVID-19 response and deliberate on other matters relating to its progress and development.
Presided over by its Chairman and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, the Forum acknowledged and commended “the intervention of the Federal Government following their request to President Muhammadu Buhari for the deployment of more security personnel to the region to tackle banditry, kidnapping, insurgency, and other crimes which are threatening livelihoods and preventing farmers from going to their farms.”
On the profiling and evacuation of Almajiris, the Forum noted that “So far, there has been appreciable progress as many States have transferred Almajiris to other States and also received their citizens without any problem.”
The Governors, according to a statement by Lalong’s Director of Press and Public Affairs, Makut Macham also maintained their earlier decision to purchase COVID-19 Mobile Testing vans which have already been ordered to boost testing of more citizens, especially in the rural areas.
On enforcing the closure of inter-state boundary roads, the Governors again expressed disappointment that “despite several measures taken, including Presidential orders, there are still violations where people move from one state to another through compromise and use of illegal routes” and vowed to continue to “take further measures to protect their people including the deployment of members of their cabinets and civil servants where necessary.”
The Forum further resolved to continue their appeal to the Federal Government for support to deal with the Corona Virus pandemic, as “the Northern Region now has about 54% of the national cases and 70 percent of new infections.”