The Plateau state government has returned 601 Almajiris to five states and received 119 from two states, Governor Simon Lalong said in a broadcast on Sunday.
According to him, out of those received, only one tested positive for COVID-19.
“On the profiling and return of Almajiri 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).
“We have also 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”, Lalong stated.
According to him, the state has “profiled 36 Almajiris who are indigenes of Plateau State and have been tested and returned them to their families. 25 are from Quan-Pan, while 11 are from Wase Local Government Areas”.
Governor Lalong who is the Chairman, Northern Governor’s Forum(NGF), also disclosed that the decision to return the Almajiris was done with good intention and not what people thought.
“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 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.
“Additionally, their education and well-being will be handled by their States, which will bring to an end to the infamous Almajiri system, which has become a social challenge. We again appeal for the understanding and support of all stakeholders. Happily, reports from all the States show that the children are excited to go back home to the warm embrace of their families”, he disclosed.