Our people are mobilised to tackle Almajiri influx –Ohanaeze Ndigbo - Uju Ayalogu's Blog for News, Reviews, Articles and More

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Monday, 11 May 2020

Our people are mobilised to tackle Almajiri influx –Ohanaeze Ndigbo

Our people are mobilised to tackle Almajiri influx –Ohanaeze Ndigbo

Kenneth Ofoma Enugu From Enugu to Port- Harcourt and from Edo to Abia, the story is the same in recent times. Hordes of young persons and adults from the Northern parts of Nigeria are being ferried to different major cities in the South, especially the South East and South South zones of the country.

This is happening even in spite of the nationwide lockdown and ban on interstate travels by the federal and state governments, precipitated by the global COCID- 19 pandemic.

Whereas some believe that the human traffic are Almajiris, others think they are fleeing Boko Hara insurgents who are now under the hit of military firepower in the North East region of the country.

 But whether they are Almajiri’s or insurgents, the sheer number of them being intercepted frequently is sending shivers down the spines of residents of South East and South South states as they fear that the influx might lead to spike in the number of not only the coronavirus cases, but also crime and insurgency in the regions.

It is already in the public domain that similar movement of Almajiri’s from one state in the North to another showed that most of them tested positive to COVID-19.

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Pan Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has weighed in on the matter, and declared that the relevant authorities in the South East zone have mobilised the people and security agencies to tackle the menace headlong.

Speaking in an exclusive chat with Sunday Telegraph in Enugu, President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, said that Southern governors are combating the issue, even as he declined to speak in details on what was being done.

 “We don’t have to speak on all issues my brother, because I don’t have to speak everyday on issues. The thing is being taken care of, why do you want me to say anything. And I have to be very careful about what I say in order not to exacerbate tensions.

 The fact that they (Northerners) are pushing their people to other places is not right at this time but I shouldn’t talk about everything when it is being handled. “I don’t want to say anything, I’m sure a lot of work is being done, I was on inspection yesterday, I saw what is being done; sometimes silence is golden.

“It’s in the interest of not just my people but the nation that I keep quiet at this time. Since the matter is being taken care of, why do I need to talk?

 You know you (media) are an instrument of national building; everything is not to be sensational because this COVID-19 is likely to last for a long time.

If you are listening to international news, and we don’t know whether it’s inspired or whether it’s an accident in the lab or whether it’s a commercial attempt to make vaccines.

All that is going on now, investigative journalism is what is called for now, not sensational journalism.

 “In Enugu state where I am, every local government chairman is involved in the border where there is a local government border; every vigilante group is involved, every Town Union is involved, every Forest Guard is involved, every traditional ruler is involved; and the State Ministry of Transport has wardens that are all involved in ensuring that all vehicles coming from outside our borders must be those on essential duties who are exempted by both the state and Federal Government.

“So what do I need to say?

I have gone round to see that it’s being handled. Governor (Ifeanyi) Ugwuanyi himself has gone on inspection at both the Northern border and Southc South border; so the matter is being addressed by local and state authorities and security chiefs and I have gone round and I’m impressed by what they are doing.

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“I urge Nigerians wherever they are to stay where they are and listen to the advice of the relevant authorities; I pray that this COVID passes us,” Nwodo said. Meanwhile other groups have raised the alarm over the influx of Almajiri into the zone. This is even as military sources attribute the influx to the fleeing Boko Haram insurgents.

Similarly, the convener of the Igbo Youths Movement (IYM), Ugochukwu Elliot Ukoh, recently raised the alarm over what he called the distribution of thousands of Almajiri minors all over the country in the last week.

Ukoh in a statement entitled: “Hope It’s Not Too Late” which he released to journalists in Enugu said that the development was both ominous and disturbing.

“Nobody can explain what wisdom inspired the neverbefore- seen mass movement of these notorious street urchins. “State governments embarked on what they claim is merely returning the urchins to their states of origin.

Unidentified people who have organised the mass relocation of the Almajiri in recent days are yet to give us their reasons for this strange redistribution,” he said.

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