Desmond Mgboh, Kano
Kano State Governor Dr Abdullahi Ganduje has said that Almajiris are a breeding ground for COVID-19 transmission.
He made the statement on Thursday at the inauguration of a Special Rapid Response team to cater for over 2,000 Almajiris stationed in three mega stations – Kiru, Karaye and Gabasawa – in the state.
The governor said Almajiris are vulnerable to the disease as a result of their lack of hygiene, lack of shelter and lack of proper sanitation.
“From our investigation and data collected, we have three types of Almajiris in Kano State,” the governor explained.
“The first group are those Almajiris belonging to other states of the federation. The second group are Almajiris who are indigenes of Kano state and the third group are Almajiris who cannot even mention where they come from or who their parents are, they have nowhere 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 said the state decided to pay special attention to the Almajiris by establishing a special COVID-19 response team to examine and protect them.
“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.
“More so, the Almajiris from Kano State will be enrolled in the integration process of the Almajiri system with the conventional system of education,” the governor continued.
“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 ready to cater for them,” he said.
“Our intention is to ensure that the Almajiri system is fully integrated with the conventional system of education. Our children have the right to education and Almajiris have right to education.”
On front line health workers made up of doctors, nurses and technical laboratory scientists that are receiving training, the governor stated: “They are being trained on the use of Personal Protective Equipment so that they can protect themselves and teach others how to protect themselves.”