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COVID-19: Almajiris, IDPs fate in limbo

Published by The Nation on Fri, 27 Mar 2020

BY Mohammed YakubuSince the outbreak of Coronavirus, countries all over the world are putting mechanism in place as preventive measures to curtail the spread. Nigeria too has joined the bandwagon having recorded her first case in Lagos earlier in the month. As at the last count, more 40 cases of Covid-19 has since been recorded in the country.Lagos State remains Nigerias commercial heartbeat. She remains the most influx as indicated by index, then followed by the sister states in the Southwest and then to the far northern states.The threat of Covid-19 is forcing many states in the country to adopt certain strict measures to curtail its spread; such as a ban on some high index countries, closure of schools, public gatherings, religious congregations (in some state) to the expansion of isolation centres for possible victims, among others. Nonetheless, our various markets that draw large gatherings daily still remain open.So, the one million naira question is: Should we allow coronavirus spread beyond our walls' Has the country also given thought to the vulnerable-almajiri who are a huge burden to the entire North, as well as the victims of social jeopardy still crowded at various Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) nationwide'Thankfully, the media has been carrying out lots of enlightenment as part of their social responsibility role since Covid-19, amid lots of misinformation and fake news bandied particularly on social media.The recently dethroned Emir of Kano Sanusi Lamido Sanusi II, has repeatedly advocated the proper education for the almajiri in the north. Had illiteracy not been an encumberance, the almajiri too could have also joined other literate Nigerians to read precautions either on pamphlets, television, billboards and other handy platforms.Their population alone if infected could fill up the isolation centres in the entire northern states.For those forced out of their homes (IDPs) as a result of insurgency in the country, they may have access to information, relate and act upon them. Nonetheless, the feat to build more isolation centres in IDPs camps should, henceforth, be part of the government priority.Provision of hand sanitisers to these sites is as well paramount. Even though they are incidentally quarantined before the outbreak of Covid-19, the government must revisit how infected persons among them can be isolated.More intriguing is the question surrounding our naira notes. Could the outbreak of this virus be a period to bid farewell to the era of cash transactions' In recent times, the banking system has worn a new outlook by migrating online. Customers now need not walk down to their various banks to make the transactions; only a tap of computer button does the magic.Mohammed Yakubu, is a final year student of Mass Communication, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida Universit, Lapai, Niger State.
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