The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) on Friday urged Northern Governors to postpone the expulsion of students of the ‘Almajiri’ educational system in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was reported that on April 21, governors under the aegis of the Northern Governors’ Forum (NGF) issued a statement where they “discussed the risk that Almajiri children are exposed to due to the virus.
It was reported that the NGF unanimously decided to ban the Almajiri system and evacuate the children to their parents or states of origin.
They vowed never to allow the system to persist any longer because of the social challenges associated with it including the perpetuation of poverty, illiteracy, insecurity and social disorder.
The Director of MURIC, Prof. Ishaq Akintola,, made the call in a statement he issued in Lagos.
”The mass expulsion would inadvertently aid the caseload of COVID-19 in the receiving states. The expulsion of almajiri by State governments is wrongly-timed.
“Many states of the North have been expelling large numbers of almajiri back to their states of origin in recent times.
”For example, on April 21, Kano expelled 432 almajiri to Katsina, 63 to Yobe, 198 to Kaduna, etc.
”Expectedly, the Northern states are beginning to take responsibility and there is every reason to believe that plans are already on ground to take good care of those almajiri on arrival in their home states. The motive behind it is commendable.
“However, the expulsions have coincided with the COVID-19 outbreak and this is our first concern. The children are being exposed to great danger.
”To make matters worse, significant numbers of these almajiri are testing positive to Coronavirus thereby swelling the COVID-19 caseloads of their receiving states and making the management of this global pandemic more difficult for Nigerian authorities.
”Unfortunately, some of these almajiri are also escaping to southern states, potentially spreading COVID-19 to every nook and cranny of Nigeria.
“It is clear that the concerned Northern States appeared to have acted without consulting Islamic scholars who are at their beck and call. Islam opposes the idea of leaving a city under plague attack.
”The Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) warned that, ‘If a plague breaks out in a city and you are living there, do not leave it. And if you are about to enter a city and there is a plague there, do not enter there’
He appealed to the security agencies to strictly enforce the ban on interstate travels, including stemming the tide of interstate almajiri ‘exports’.
“Many of the index cases in some states have been traced to people who came in from outside such states.
“We enjoin northern governors to postpone the expulsion of almajiri until the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
“Instead, all those almajiris should gather in a few central locations, test them for the Coronavirus, isolate the infected and treat them promptly.
“That way, this scourge will be nipped in the bud among them and we would have prevented the spread of COVID-19 via infected almajiri to the whole of the country,” he said.