Lalong decries politicisation in repatriation of Almajirai

The chairman, Northern Governors Forum (NGF), Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State has decried politicisation in the repatriation of Almajirai to their respective state of origins.

Governor Lalong who stated this in a statewide broadcast on Sunday said it was unfortunate that the noble idea was being politicised.

He said: “It is disheartening that this noble and bold decision is being politicised by few people who although claimed to abhor Almajiri system, choose for reasons best known to them to play to the gallery by pretending to be fighting for the human right of these children.”

The governor further pointed out that the profiling and return of Almajiri children, which commenced on April 26, 2020, have made a lot of progress.

He added that so far, Plateau State has returned a total of 601 Almajirai to their states of origin to be tested, reunited with their families and properly cared for.

“We have also received 119 Almajirai 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 tested positive to COVID-19 and is receiving treatment in one of the isolation facilities. The rest have been reunited with their families.

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“Within the state, we have profiled 36 Almajirai 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.

He stressed that the decision to carry out the evacuation was a collective one taken by governors of the 19 Northern states during the meeting of the Northern Governors Forum in order to guarantee the safety of these children who were exposed to many dangers including COVID-19.

Governor Lalong stated that 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 adding that those who test positive are treated before being reunited with their families.

“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 added.

Tribune Online reports that Governor Lalong also disclosed that a suspected COVID-19 patient whose sample was taken in the state died on Saturday before his result was returned.

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