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Borno profiles Almajirai for database, instead of repatriation to states

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Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum PHOTO:Twitter

The Borno state government has said that the Almajirai (street kids) have neither been ‘received nor repatriated’ from the state to their respective parents across the country.

Instead of evacuating the street kids over coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the state’s response team led by Deputy Governor, Umar Kadafur, is to profile Tsangaya schools into a database.

This was disclosed Friday in Maiduguri, while the Commissioner of Information, Babakura Jato, was briefing journalists on repatriation of Almajirai to their respective states over COVID-19 pandemic.

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He said while handling the issue of Almajirai, in relation to the pandemic, the government will be guided by “caution and human face approach.”

According to him, they need empathy and sympathy, as they are victims of a situation they did not create.

He said none of the kids; could not comprehend the decade long Boko Haram insurgency and recent COVID-19 pandemic that claimed over a dozen lives in the state.

“They are victims of a situation they could not create,” he said, noting that they could not even understand the problems they are facing since they came into the state.

He also noted that most of the Almajirai came into the state when they are at the ages of three to five.

While lamenting the state of Almajirai, Jato said: “Most of the affected children left their parents at tendered age and taken to local Islamic clerics for Koranic recitations,” but could not locate their states of origin not to talk of homes.

He said it could have been better for collectively concentrated efforts to make life more meaningful to the street kids.

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He said this is in light of their predicaments to present approach of repatriation which is not in the interest of unity even among the 19 northern states.

“The Nigerian Constitution made it clear that citizens are free to reside anywhere in the country, without molestation,” he said.

Governor Babagana Zulum in a statewide broadcast Wednesday in Maiduguri; also said: “As a first necessary step, I have directed the COVID-19 task force to profile all the Tsangaya schools in the state with a view to creating a database for Almajirai.

“I will encourage dialogue among my colleague Governors to create educational opportunities that are sustainable and modern for the Almajirai in the north.

“We take all measures to protect their human rights and dignity while we take steps to re-position them we in society.”

He said that these actions and measures; are essential if the governors were to take necessary precautions against the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

Zulum, therefore, called on religious and community leaders to join in prayers so as to end this pandemic that has claimed over a dozen lives.

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