Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Benue State Government on Thursday, repatriated 58 street urchins commonly known as ‘almajiris’ back to their home states in the northern part of the country.
The Deputy Governor and Chairman of the Benue COVID-19 Committee, Engr. Benson Abounu who led a taskforce to their base located at Ikeja street, Makurdi, early hours of the day disclosed that 42 of the almajiris were from Katsina State and 17 were from Bauchi State.
Abounu who led the taskforce team to their base noted that the youths had been brought to the state in violation of the lockdown measures and had to be returned to the safety of their homes.
He explained that the committee provided transportation as well as security and the documentation to facilitate safe passage for the repatriated youths to their home states.
He disclosed further that facemasks were also handed to the destitute youths after they had been given an orientation on safety tips necessary for them to avoid contacting and spreading the virus.
He posited that their continuous stay in the state where they crammed together in one place posed a great danger to them and the people of the state as it was a violation of the presidential guidelines on containment of COVID-19.
The almajiris were put in buses provided by the Benue State Action Committee and escorted by security men out of the state and are to be handed over to their state governors on arrival in their states.
Abounu maintained that the lockdown in the state is still in force and that everyone found violating it will face appropriate sanctions.
He added that all measures necessary to keep the state free from the plague of Coronavirus will be implemented with due diligence, stressing that all destitute persons from other states found in Benue will be returned to their homes.
He enjoined the people of the state to close ranks and support the administration of Governor Samuel Ortom, who he said had given tremendous support to the Committee to enable it win the war against COVID-19.