The Northern Traditional Leaders Council (NTLC) wants federal government to directly issue an order stopping the repatriation of almajirai to their home states, warning the movement would escalate the spread of Covid-19 in the north of the country.
This is as the Federal Government urged the traditional leaders to safeguard their communities by mobilizing, sensitizing 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, has said that the repatriation of the Almajaris from one state to the other is against the presidential order banning inter-state travels.
The Chairman of the Council, 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 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 died of the virus are buried, stressing that most of the people who participates 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 stigmatized 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 government’s directives on interstate movement as it constitutes a risk for Nigerians as some of the Covid-19 are asymptomatic and can spread the virus.
He said that the Presidential Order banned interstate travel except for movement of goods.
He said, “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 2500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been recorded across the country, out of which 1154 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.”
On his part, Executive Director, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, said that the meeting was convened as part of collaboration between the agency and the traditional institutions countrywide to have more insight on what should be done especially now that the country is witnessing community transmission of coronavirus.
“We want to tap into the experience of the traditional leaders because they were on the frontlines in the fight against the Wild Polio Virus. We want to stop the virus from spreading further into our communities,” Shuaib said.