COVID-19: Almajiri, a time bomb waiting to explode in Edo By Anthony Aibangbee

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“Almajiris on our street is a time bomb waiting to explode. A time bomb that if left to explode can be very fatal and can lead to further and fast spread of covid-19”.

COVID-19 no longer needs introduction in our world or society today, everyone in their own little way hopes this pandemic becomes a thing of the past. And in Edo state, the government of Governor Godwin Obaseki is doing all its possible best to curtail the spread of this virus but there is an impending danger or say time bomb waiting to explode if not well checked or taken proper care of.

Nipped in the bud and that is the influx of almajiris into the state from all the Northern parts of Nigeria.

Almajiri is a term used in describing beggars in the northern part of Nigeria, these beggars have in recent times migrated into all parts of the country and Edo state has a very large numbers of these Almajiris lodged in its state capital, Benin city.

These sect of beggars have continue to increase in population within Benin city over time; from the city center popularly known as Ring road to Benin-Sapele road, Uselu axis of Benin-Lagos road through to the Government Reservation Area and to the New Benin area. Their footprints are overwhelmingly visible, not even the coming of the coronavirus pandemic could halt their visible increase.

This ugly development is a risk not only to the society but also a catalyst that can result in the spread of the dreaded COVID-19. More worrisome is the present situation across states in the country especially from their home region (the North), where respective State Governors are sending the so called Almajiris to their state of origin as a way of halting or checking the spread of d virus.

Taking a good look at Edo state – a frontline state in the fight against COVID-19 in the country, one can’t help but applaud the giant strides of the amiable state governor whose proactive approach to this fight has been copied by various state government and even the federal government. This goes to show the caliber of person the state has as its governor. But more is expected of him by the people and society, he has done much but more is still expected from him.

The activities of Almajiris must be checked in Edo state. The ones littered across the streets are too much, not to talk of more entering the state despite the ban on inter state travelling.

Edo state is not a haven for Almajiris, it was never a part of our society before now, if this fight against COVID-19 must be won, we should remove all hindrances on the way to achieving the  feat. There is nothing wrong in duplicating the nice approach of other states.

It would be a plus in this fight against the pandemic if Almajiris on the streets are returned back to their states of origin, by so doing Edo will be reducing the number of ways were by the dreaded disease can spread.

If this COVID-19 must be eradicated, if it must be checked, if its spread must be curtailed then Almajiris must leave the streets of not only Benin city but also all nooks and crannies of Edo state. Otherwise, almajiris on our street is a time bomb waiting to explode. A time bomb that if left to explode can be very fatal and can lead to further and fast spread of covid-19.