Northern Governors Seek More COVID-19 Testing Centres, Ban Almajiri System

The Northern Governors met via teleconference on April 21, 2020.
The Northern Governors met via teleconference on April 21, 2020.

 

Northern state governors on Tuesday called for more COVID-19 testing centres in the north and banned the almajiri system for fear the children could be exposed to the virus.

The Governors met for the second time in one month via teleconferencing, according to a press statement.

The meeting was presided by the Northern States Governors Forum Chairman, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau state.

According to the statement, Lalong his colleagues that based on their resolution at the last meeting, he had a discussion with President Muhammadu Buhari where he conveyed their concerns on the need for the region to access special funding, palliatives, testing centres and other forms of support to assist the region deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the President assured him of the support of the Federal Government within the context of Federal Government programmes both under the coronavirus response and under other incentives to farmers and States.

The meeting further discussed the issue of COVID-19 Testing Centres within the Northern Region where it noted some improvement, but again insisted that all States in the region should have at least one centre in order to make the detection of the disease and its management easier and faster.

On border control and lockdown measures, the Northern Governors retained their earlier decision for the states to individually decide on the measure to adopt, but reaffirmed the need for border closures to stop inter-state spread of the disease, which is rising in the region.

The Governors also discussed the risk that Almajiri children are exposed to because of the pandemic.

They unanimously decided to totally ban the Almajiri system and evacuate the children to their parents or states of origin.

They agreed to take a cue from Kano, Kaduna and Nasarawa States who have begun returning Almajiri children to families and states of origin, while those within their States who do not have parents are taken care of by the Government.

They vowed never to allow the system persist any longer because of the social challenges associated with it including the perpetuation of poverty, illiteracy, insecurity and social disorder.

Governors, Prominent Citizens Sue For Nigeria’s Restructuring

Aminu-Tambuwal-other-governorsSome state governors and prominent citizens have called for the restructuring of Nigeria to make it more productive and efficient.

The call was made as part of solutions to Nigeria’s economic crisis and myriad of problems that have turned the once prosperous giant of Africa to a nation almost on its knees.

The governors made the recommendation on Monday in Abuja at the launch of a book titled ‘Challenges of Leadership in Nigeria’, a case study of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, pointed out during an interview with Channels Television that Nigeria must return to true federalism and devolution of powers from the centre.

“I’m in support of fiscal restructuring of our economy and devolution of power to the states.

“Devolve powers to the states, more responsibilities and give them more funding; That way, I believe Nigerian project will blossom,” he stated.

Some prominent citizens at the event also stressed the need for more autonomy for states and less power at the centre.Book-on-Muhammadu-Buhari

However, the Governor of Plateau State, Mr Simon Lalong, does not think restructuring was the quick fix many Nigerians think it was.

Some Nigerians, on their part, believed the call for restructuring had been gaining traction in the light of the present recession and ongoing challenges confronting the country.

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, also told reporters that Nigerian states had their comparative advantage, urging the government to focus more on that.

“If you look into the strength of each state or region, it will take this nation out of the issue e are having now,” the Ooni said.

“Restore The Country”

Meanwhile, giving their opinions about the 320-page book on Buhari, some past leaders and other prominent Nigerians spoke about the leadership qualities of the President.

The event was attended by three presidents from Chad, Niger and Benin Republic and two former Nigerian leaders; General Yakubu Gowon and Mr Olusegun Obasanjo among other prominent Nigerians.

For former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, it was a time for the President Buhari to restore the country.

“Mr President has been doing his best to get things going, to ensure that the economy is restored to good health and the suffering of the masses of the people is alleviated,” he stressed.

Obasanjo
Mr Olusegun Obasanjo

Giving a speech about the presentation of events in the book, Mr Obasanjo said that the simple and chronological presentation made the book readable without stress and “makes you to not want to put it down when you start reading it”.

Also at the ceremony were the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Mr John Oyegun and the leader of the party that had called for Mr Oyegun’s resignation, Mr Bola Tinubu.

The supposedly disagreeing leaders sat side by side at the occasion.

Mr Oyegun and Senator Tinubu sitting side by side
Mr Oyegun and Senator Tinubu sitting side by side

Reviewing the book, Mr Tinubu said that as a sitting president, Mr Buhari was on an assignment to undo the wrongs of nearly two decades of bad governance.

The author of the book, John Paden, a Professor of International Studies, who had written a book on late Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello, described the President as a charismatic leader who would never do anything except it benefits the country.

Professor Paden said President Buhari had the courageous and upright personality that Nigeria needed at this time to forge a united country.

Herdsmen Clashes: Plateau Governor Insists Ranching Is Better Option

Herdsmen Clashes, Simon Lalong, Plateau-StateThe Governor of Plateau State, Mr Simon Lalong, has explained the policy of ranches designed to resolve cases of clashes between herdsmen and farmers across the country.

Speaking on Channels TV programme, Sunday Politics, the Governor differentiated between the grazing reserves and ranches.

He stated the reasons behind his states’ adoption of ranching and the modalities.

“The Suswan committee (former Benue Governor) made far-reaching recommendations which include ranches or grazing reserves (and grazing routes).

“Now for me on the Plateau, it will be difficult to go for grazing reserves because the routes are not available. Although the law is there, you cannot get the routes.

“In some of the routes, you will find out that they are occupied by government buildings and structures.

“If you go to Abuja today, many of the parks you see there are grazing routes. I will even not be surprised if the structure of the Villa was also grazing route.

“So when we look at it, we look at the pros and cons – the advantages of the two, and the recommendation was that we should go for ranches,” he said.

Misconception

He added that there has been some misconception among citizens regarding the plan to adopt ranches instead of grazing reserves.

“Grazing reserves, to me is outdated, people had grazing reserves but they were not using it,” he said.

“You must understand the difference between grazing reserves and ranches.

“When you talk of grazing reserves, it means it is an area that is reserved by government seasonally for herdsmen, perhaps when there is no water in their area once in a while during dry season. They come there to graze their cattle.

“It is not very economical. It creates crisis because with people coming there,  it attracts cattle rustling.”

He explained that the focus of the Federal Government is on developing livestock breeding with modern techniques and technology. “Ranching, I will say is the modern way of livestock breeding.

“Livestock breeding is not restricted to cattle. It also involves sheep and goat. Even in my area they say you can domesticate it to include piggery, poultry and so on.”

“So what the government is trying to do through this policy is to subsidize the business of livestock production.”

Dialogue

Communities in Plateau, Benue, Nasarawa and other states have been plagued by numerous clashes between herdsmen and farmers, leading to the loss of several lives and destruction of property.

He explained that his administration had to consider some of the recommendations made by the previous administration and these guided their decisions in trying to curb the violence.

Governor Lalong said that the use of dialogue as a way to resolve the recurring crises has been highly productive as peace has returned to Plateau State.

“We called the Fulani people. Some of them are Nigerians,” he said, while explaining the need to get the two main warring groups together.

The Governor also explained other efforts being made by his administration to ensure that the cases of clashes between herdsmen and farmers are brought to an end.

Plateau State Governor-elect To Consult Retired Generals Over Killings

Plateau Governor-electPlateau State Governor-elect, Mr Simon Lalong, has expressed his readiness to consult retired Military Generals in the state, to fight against insecurity.

This is consequent to the recent feud between Fulani herdsmen and villagers in Barikinladi Local Government Area of Plateau State.

Mr Lalong spoke in Jos the Plateau State capital, when a delegation of Tarok natives, under the umbrella body of Ngwan Ishi Otarok, led by prominent retired Military Generals from Langtang visited him.

The Governor-elect said he would consult them on how to tackle the spate of clashes, especially between farmers and herdsmen in the state.

Meanwhile, the pains and memories of the attack would take a while to be forgotten in Ropp district of Barkinladi Local Government Area of the state, where at least 20 persons where killed in six villages.

The district Head of Barkin Ladi, Edward Bot, said the village was attacked by the assailants in the early hours of Tuesday, with gunshots which lasted for several hours.

Mr Lalong, however, expressed belief that if previous administrations in the state had taken full advantage of the many retired top security chiefs in the state, it would not have suffered the kind of crisis it had gone through over the past decades.