Northern Governors met again on Friday on ways to find ways of containing the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the region, resolving to strengthen inter-State border controls to stop the free movement of people who may be carriers of the virus.
A statement on the meeting reads:
“The Northern Governors Forum met on May 1st, 2020 to continue their discussions on tackling the Corona Virus Pandemic in the region. The meeting which again held via teleconferencing was presided over by Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Plateau State Simon Bako Lalong.
“The Forum reviewed some of the issues they earlier raised such as the request for more COVID-19 Testing Centres in the North which are grossly inadequate. They acknowledged some improvement through the intervention of the Federal Government, but said it was still a far cry going by its population and increase in COVID-19 cases.
“They therefore decided to purchase mobile Testing Vans which they believe will facilitate testing in the rural areas. The Forum also expressed deep appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for his quick intervention in Kano State because of the spike in the number of COVID-19 infections recently.
“On the issue of inter-State border closure, the Northern Governors expressed serious concern that despite their efforts, the borders are still being compromised and more illegal routes are being created which is giving rise to more inter-State transfer of COVID-19.
“They also noted that some of the trucks transporting goods are also used in smuggling people across States in violation of movement regulations.
“They therefore decided to close all their borders from 6pm to 7am to all trucks carrying goods so as to enable proper scrutiny and examination the following day, which is difficult to achieve in the night when most of the infractions happen.
“They also agreed to increase the use of vigilante groups, neighbourhood watch, and traditional rulers in enforcing the border closures.
“On the profiling and return of Almajiris to their States of origin, the Governors noted that the exercise has commenced and is going on well except for some few logistic challenges, which are being addressed, between Governors of originating and receiving States.
“They also agreed that Almajiris sent from one State to another should be profiled, tested and accompanied by State officials and their Alaramas (teachers) to facilitate the process of settling in.
“They were also briefed on the post-COVID-19 Economic Blueprint for Northern Region by Chairman of the Committee Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State who said the document is being developed and will soon be presented to the Forum.
“They also mandated the Governors of Kebbi, Katsina, Borno, and Plateau to engage the leadership of Security Agencies on the threat of banditry, terrorism and kidnapping on agriculture in the north as farmers are afraid to go their farms for fear of attacks.
“The Northern Governors also commended the efforts of the Private Sector led Coalition Against Corona Virus (COCAVID) which has commenced the distribution of palliatives to States.”
Dr. Makut Simon Macham
Director of Press & Public Affairs
to the Governor of Plateau State
& Chairman, Northern Governors Forum
1st May 2020.