The governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed, has announced a ban of the Almajiri system of Quranic learning as part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
Mr Mohammed has also announced that in line with the social distancing order, all religious gatherings in churches and mosques have been banned with immediate effect.
Mr Mohammed, who made these known in a statewide broadcast on Thursday, said the government of Bauchi can only enforce a lockdown “with a human face.”
The Almajiri system which operates through the aggregation and congregation of hundreds of children who beg by day and cluster in large numbers at night has the risk of accelerating the spread of coronavirus.
He said following the agreement of the northern governors to ban the Almajiri system in the region, “the Almajiri system is hereby banned in the state.”
He further disclosed that the governors of each northern state would facilitate the repatriation of almajiris to their respective states.
“As I address you, Kaduna and Kano are in the process of evacuating Almajiris of Bauchi State origin back to us. We will receive and accommodate them at the NYSC camp in Wailo, identify their parents and or guardians and reunite them accordingl,” he said.
“I have set in motion a process that will ensure the repatriation of other states in our midst back to their states of origin. This process will be set in motion soon.”
The governor clarified that the ban “is not against Islamic learning or scholarship.”
He said the ban does not affect established Islamiyya school.
Not a shutdown
Governor Mohammed said people of Bauchi State must understand that the lockdown is not a “shutdown.”
The governor said the lockdown which will affect all markets and commercial transportation systems takes effect on Sunday, April 26.
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“All markets including weekly markets in the state are hereby suspended except dealers in essential food items like grains, vegetables, and perishables,” he said.
Mr Mohammed said markets will be opened only for essential commodities every
“Monday, Wednesday and Saturday,” to help residents restock for food and other related needs.
The governor said commercial motorcyclists will from Sunday cease to operate in Bauchi, while tricycle riders will only be allowed to ply the roads with only two passengers who must all wear a facemasks.
He said the ban on commercial motorcycles is permanent. He said his government plans to provide support to the banned commercial motorcyclists.
The governor said the Ramadan tafsir (public sermon) that normally attracts large crowds will only be restricted to the translator and the reciter.
He said to avoid gathering that will violate the social distancing order, the government will sponsor the airing of most of the tafsirs on various TV and radio channels.