South-South, South-West get tough on almajirai, increase surveillance at borders

By AdvocateNews on 12/05/2020

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30 almajiri children  intercepted in a truck at the Gakem-Benue border in Cross River.
30 almajiri children intercepted in a truck at the Gakem-Benue border in Cross River.

There were indications on Monday that states in the South-West and South-South had stepped up measures to check the influx of Quranic education pupils, popularly known as Almajirai from the North into their states.

The Chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, in an interview, indicated border communities had been sensitised to the need for them to be vigilant and report strange movements.

On his part, the Chairman of South-South Governors forum, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, who is also the Delta State governor, said youths had been recruited to assist security agents to detect unauthorised movements and stop people from entering the state.

The President had in his broadcast on April 27 imposed a dusk to dawn curfew on all parts of the country as part of efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.He also banned inter-state movements.

But in spite of the ban on inter-state movements, Almajarai, who are being dislodged from streets in northern states, are being hidden in trucks and brought to the South.

The Northern Governors’ Forum had at their meeting outlawed Almajarai

The Kwara State Police Command had on Saturday intercepted Lagos-bound 200 Almajirai at the Moro Local Government Area of the state.

According to the command’s spokesman, Ajayi Okesanmi, the Almajirai were coming from Funtua in Katsina State.

Also on Sunday, the Federal Road Safety Corps, the Ondo State Command intercepted 13 Almajirai along Ilesa-Akure Road.

On Saturday, the Cross River State Government and security operatives intercepted and sent back a truck carrying no fewer than 30 Quoranic education pupils Almajirai at the Gakem-Benue border in the state.

The Chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum and Ondo State Governor, Akeredolu on Monday declared that the influx of the Almajirai was already being contained by the government of the six states of the region.

The governor, in an interview with journalists in Akure, said the almajirai were mostly destitute and were very vulnerable to the infection of the deadly coronavirus disease.

The governor said, “The influx of young people from some states in the northern part of Nigeria into our states is new and embarrassing experience and it is a matter of serious concern.

“Their massive influx into other states, particularly in South-West coinciding with the spread of COVID-19 constitutes a great threat in many respects and calls for concern.

“The government has set up an effective and already running system of containment which returns the Almajirai to their states of origin. On this, my message to the people at this time is to remain vigilant and be conscious of happenings in their environment.

“You are enjoined to report cases of such importation of Almajirai to appropriate authorities to help us effectively curtail community transmission of COVID-19.”

The Chairman of the South-South Governor’s Forum, Okowa, said youths had been recruited to assist security agencies in detecting illegal movements.

Okowa stated this through his Chief Press Secretary. Mr. Olise Ifejika. He frowned upon the manner people crossed borders against government order.

He said, “We are aware that some persons are being moved from one part of the country to the other. In response to that, Delta now formed a task force made up mainly of community youths to support the security agencies at the border.

“And they are really doing it. So all those thing about people coming in has been seriously reduced. You may be aware that last Saturday, we visited this boys and the governor told them not to allow unauthorised vehicles to enter the state.

For Almajiria, the chief press secretary said although the state had not recorded any influx, he said Delta State was working with other states in ensuring adequate security within the region. – Punch.

Posted 12/05/2020 06:52:34 AM


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