COVID-19: Kaduna evacuates over 20,000 almajiris, records one death

Commissioner, Ministry of Human Services and Social Development, Kaduna State, Hajiya Hafsat Baba has expressed her sadness over the death of an Almajiri boy who drowned while being allegedly hidden by his 74-year-old Malam, Umar Musa Mai Kalanzir.

The unfortunate íncident occurred at Kabala West, Kaduna South Local Government Area of the State.

At the wake of spreading of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the State Government had announced the closure of all schools, including Tsangaya (Islamic) schools and has directed that all Almajiri are to be returned to their parents,.

Thus, Hajiya Baba disclosed that the development had led to the evacuation of 20,731 Almajiri from Kaduna town as at Monday, March 30.

The Commissioner, who made this known on Monday via her tweeter handle @HafsatMohBaba, revealed that the little boy drowned in a river after his Malam hid him and others from the Task Force team.

According to her, “we regret to announce that in carrying out our operations of ensuring that Tsangaya schools adhered to the school closure order, our worst fear has happened with the demise of one Almajiri who drowned in a river after his Malam had hidden him and his colleagues from the taskforce team.

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“However, some Alaramma have refused to comply with this order or present their pupils for evacuation. To escape our operations, some have resorted to hid their pupils, including locking them up in small rooms or taking them to remote locations away from the Tsangaya.

“KDSG feared that this may endanger the pupils and has been deploying strategies to save these pupils. Alaramma Umar Musa Mai Kalanzir claimed he had sent all his pupils back to their parents. Alas, these tragic events showed otherwise. The @elrufai led KDSG will prosecute him.

“Operatives of the State taskforce have since effected the arrest of Umar Mai Kalanzir and have started investigations. We will prosecute the Alaramma and seek the maximum punishment ascribed by the law for his crimes. This will not be allowed to go unpunished.

“Going forward, we will double down on all operators of these Tsangaya as no life is unimportant to us. The KDSG will not allow children’s lives to be endangered. By this statement, any Alaramma caught attempting to hide his pupils will be arrested and prosecuted immediately.

“The KDSG will also release guidelines of the minimum requirements to operate a Tsangaya in Kaduna State. This has been in the works but with current findings, no one will be allowed to operate a Tsangaya in the State until full compliance to these minimums is ensured”, she threatened.

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