Nigeria Christian Graduate fellowship (NCGF) has called on southern governors and security operatives to beef up surveillance at borders due to the indiscriminate inter-state travels by unauthorised persons and the inherent danger.
The group expressed worry about reported incidents of lorry-loads of child beggars from the north, who are popularly known as Almajiri, intercepted at various parts of southern Nigeria by vigilantes and task force personnel.
They queried why despite the several military and police checkpoints between Oturkpa Junction in Benue State and Iriebe in Rivers State, the infractions were going on particularly at night.
Northern Governors’ Forum (NGF) recently banned the Almajiri system and ordered the relocation of all street kids to their states of origin and parents as part of efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus.
In a letter to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and governors of the South tagged: ‘Re-movement of human cargo from the North to South,’ the organisation accused security operatives of complicity and violation of restrictions on inter-state movements.
The statement signed by the group’s National President, Prof. Charles Adisa and General Secretary, Mr. Philip Nwaegeruo, expressed concerns that “some individuals are disguising as goods in trucks and trooping from the north to the south, despite the lock-down by the federal and state governments.
“Preliminary investigations revealed that the suspects hiding as cargoes were able-bodied persons, generally categorised as Almajirai being off-loaded surreptitiously in South East, South South and South West geo-political zones. Similar sinister migrations have also been reported in the Middle-Belt, including Nasarawa State. The real mission behind this illegality in the wake of increasing spread of the deadly disease in many Northern states raises serious concerns,” the NCGF said.
The Christian group alleged that some of the persons sneaking into the south had tested positive or were asymptomatic to COVID-19 may escalate community transmissions in the south, where infection and spread has been minimal.