The Plateau State Government on Sunday began the evacuation of 183 Quranic education (Almajiri) pupils to their states of origin.
The exercise is part of the resolution of the northern state governments as part of efforts to save that vulnerable group of children from the Coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking during the evacuation, Secretary to the Government of State, Prof. Danladi Atu, said the first batch of the pupils were identified and carefully profiled.
He said the pupils were from Bauchi, Kaduna and Kano States.
Atu said: “The move is not punitive but to ensure that they are better cared for by their parents during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic poses a grave danger to the pupils.
“We must protect them and guide them; they need to be with their parents and guardians to take proper care of them at this time.
“This order by Governor Simon Lalong is not done in isolation; the decision was taken by the Northern States Governors Forum.”
Atu said the society and indeed the country would be better off if the children were properly trained by their parents.
Also speaking, Colonel Salihu Inusa (retd), Chairman, Enforcement of Ban on Almajiris System in Plateau State, said the first batch was evacuated from Mangu Local Government Area.
Inusa said it was time to reunite the pupils with their families and reintegrate them into the formal educational system.
“If you want to do the almajiri system, do it within the educational system in your location so that their parents will take care of them for their future development,” he said.
He said the concerned states were already contacted and they would receive the children at the borders.
Inusa added, however, that the state was setting up structures to receive those from Plateau State, if there are any.
Mallam Ibrahim Ahamed, who spoke on behalf of the other teachers in charge of the Quranic pupils, appreciated the state governments for their initiative.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is indeed a trying period and we pray for it to end,” Ahamed said.