Mr Simon Lalong, Chairman Northern Governors’ Forum

By M. Peter, Jos

The Northern Governors’ Forum is still bent on continuing the repatriation of Almajiris to their states of origin despite warning against it by the National Assembly.

The National Assembly had forbade states from repatriating Almajiris from their states of residents due to increasing cases of Coronavirus disease.

However, Governors from the 19 Northern states say the repatriation exercise will continue but with strict
compliance to laid down protocols.

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The Governors urgued that they should all strictly follow laid down protocols for profiling, quarantining, testing, transportation, handing and taking over as well as reintegration of the Almajiris

The Governors spoke during their 4th teleconference meeting on Wednesday to review the region’s COVID-19 response, and deliberate on other matters relating to its progress and development.

The Northern Governors agreed to repatriate Almajiris to their states of origin at its first teleconference meeting in April as a measure to control community spread of coronavirus.

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Presided over by its Chairman and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, the Forum acknowledged and commended “the intervention of the Federal Government following their request to President Muhammadu Buhari for the deployment of more security personnel to the region to tackle banditry, kidnapping, insurgency, and other crimes which are threatening livelihoods and preventing farmers from going to their farms.”

On the profiling and evacuation of Almajiris, the Forum noted that “So far, there has been appreciable progress as many States have transferred Almajiris to other States and also received their citizens without any problem.”

The Governors, according to a statement by Lalong’s Director of Press and Public Affairs, Makut Macham also maintained their earlier decision to purchase COVID-19 Mobile Testing vans which have already been ordered to boost testing of more citizens especially in the rural areas.

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On enforcing closure of inter-state boundary roads, the Governors again expressed disappointment that “despite several measures taken, including Presidential orders, there are still violations where people move from one State to another through compromise and use of illegal routes” and vowed to continue to “take further measures to protect their people including the deployment of members of their cabinets and civil servants where necessary.”

The Forum further resolved to continue their appeal to the Federal Government for support to deal with the Corona Virus pandemic, as “the Northern Region now has about 54% of the national cases and 70 percent of new infections.”