Almajiris, Breeding Ground for COVID-19, Says Ganduje

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By Ibrahim Shuaibu

Kano Governor Abdullahi Ganduje has described Almajiris as breeding ground for COVID-19 because of their vulnerability as a result of poor hygiene and lack of shelter.

He said this Thursday at the opening of a training for a special Rapid Response Team to cater for over 2000 Almajiris stationed at three mega centres in Kiru, Karaye and Gabasawa in Kano.

He said, “From our investigation and data collected we have three types of Almajiris in Kano state. The first group are those Almajiris belongs to other states of the federation, second group are Almajirai who are indigenes of Kano state and the third group are Almajiris who cannot even mention where they come from or who there parents are, they have no where to go, some sleep under the bridges, markets, motor parks but because of the Coronavirus climate we are in now, we have already banned begging and all schools are closed, these Almajiris constitute hazards and they are breeding ground for Coronavirus. Because they stay in a congested environment, they have no defined place for them to sleep, no prescribed food for them to eat, no provision for sanitation and therefore they are vulnerable,” the governor stated.

Ganduje also said government decided to pay special attention to them by establishing the special response team to examine and protect them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to him, those found to be negative will be taken back to their parents while those found to be positive will be retained, isolated and treated, when they recover they will then be taken back to their states with certification by the NCDC.

“We decided to examine all the Almajiris in Kano state. Our intention is to protect them and those who are negative we take them back to their parents, back to their states to ensure that they are free from coronavirus. Those who are positive, we are not taking them back to their states of origin. We are putting them in isolation centres until they are cured and are confirmed negative. Then we take them to their respective states in a good condition with certification from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control,” he stated.

Speaking further, he said the Almajiris from Kano state will be enrolled in the integration process of the Almajiris system with the conventional system of education.

“Those Almajiris from Kano, we have adequate arrangement for their education and those who cannot find where to go we are their parents and we are already to cater for them.”

“Our intention is to ensure that the Almajiri system is fully integrated with the conventional system of education. Our children have right to education and Almajiris have right to education,” the governor added.

On the front line health workers made up of doctors, nurses and technical laboratory scientists, that are receiving training, the governor said “they were being trained on the use of Personal Protective Equipment so that they can protect themselves and teach others how to protect themselves. In particular for this group, we are handling a special group of our community, that is screening, testing, and managing the Almajiris who are found positive in Kano state.”