The Kano State Government on Saturday said it has transferred 1,098 ‘almajiris’ to different states of the country.
The commissioner for local government, Murtala Garo, disclosed this while presenting a report before the state’s task force on COVID-19 at the government house, Kano.
Almajiris are children who are supposed to be learning Islamic studies while living with their Islamic teachers. Majority of them, however, end up begging on the streets of Northern Nigeria. They constitute a large number of Nigeria’s over 10 million out-of-school children.
Mr Garo said the Kano government transported 419 almajiris to Katsina, 524 to Jigawa and 155 to Kaduna. He said all of them tested negative for coronavirus before leaving the Kano State.
Despite the coronavirus test done in Kano for the almajiris, the Jigawa government earlier said it would quarantine for two weeks all the almajiris that recently arrived from Kano.
Mr Garo said another 100 almajiris scheduled to be taken to Bauchi State also tested negative to COVID-19.
In a remark, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje said the COVID-19 situation in Kano was getting worse. He appealed for a collaborative effort to curtail the spread of the virus in the state.
Mr Ganduje, who commended residents for complying with the lockdown imposed in the state, said the decision was taken to halt the spread of the virus.
Kano State, as of Saturday night, has 77 coronavirus cases, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
The decision to transfer the Kano almajiris is part of the agreement reached between Northern governors that almajiris in each state be transferred to their states of origin.
However, even before the latest agreement by the governors, the Kano government had been transferring almajiris to other states and neighbouring countries after it banned street begging in the state, most populous in Northern Nigeria.
Despite the transfers, however, no concrete step has been taken to ensure such children do not return to Kano streets as there is freedom of movement across Nigeria although interstate travel was recently banned to check the spread of the coronavirus.