The Northern Traditional Leaders Council, NTLC, has begged the Federal Government to directly issue an order stopping the repatriation of Almajirai to their home States, warning that the movement would escalate the spread of Covid-19 in the North.
This is as the Federal Government urged the Traditional Leaders to safeguard their communities, by “mobilising, sensitising, reporting, and monitoring activities within your domains”, in order to contain further spread of the coronavirus.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha, had earlier said that the repatriation of Almajaris from one State to the other, is against the Presidential order banning inter-State travels.
However, the Chairman of the NTLC, Samila Mohammed, who made the call at an online emergency meeting between the government and Traditional Leaders, on primary health care, on Wednesday, decried the manner in which the Almajaris are conveyed in long convoys heavily guarded by Security Operatives that cannot be stopped at any check point.
“We are concerned over the repatriation of the Almajaris to various States, without testing them for the coronavirus, such actions would escalate the spread of the virus”, he said.
Also speaking, the Emir of Jiwa, Idris Musa, urged the government to do something about the way people who die of the virus are buried, stressing that, most of the people who participate in burying the corpses, do not wear any personal protective equipment.
He stressed the need for a sustained enlightenment, to ensure that victims of Covid-19 are not stigmatised or discriminated against.
On his part, the Mai Kaltungo, Saleh Muhammed, urged the government to establish a Testing Centre in Gombe State, in order to reduce turnaround time for testing and treatment.
Speaking earlier, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, told the Traditional Leaders to assist in ensuring compliance with the government’s directives on inter-State movements, as it constitutes a risk for Nigerians, as some of the Covid-19 carriers are asymptomatic, and can spread the virus.
He said that the Presidential Order banned inter-State travels, except for movement of essential goods.
He stated: “These are indeed trying times for our dear country, and indeed the world, as the novel coronavirus or Covid-19 has been spreading exponentially since December 2019, when it was first detected in Wuhan, China. We are faced with a pandemic that is ravaging through our communities, killing our people, hence the need for us to work together to save our communities and our dear country, from the grasp of this deadly virus.
“Today, over 2,500 confirmed cases of Covid-19 have been recorded across the country, out of which 1,154 cases were recorded in Northern Nigeria. We are therefore, counting on your continued support during this outbreak, just as you have partnered with us to stop polio transmission. Your leadership in this effort is still fresh in our minds.”