Kaduna State Government says it has evacuated about 4, 562 Almajiris to prevent spread of Coronavirus in the state.
Commissioner of Human Services and Social Development, Mrs Hafsat Baba, stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Thursday in Kaduna.
On its part, the Nasarawa State government has decided to cut its 2020 budget by 60 per cent to mitigate the economic downtown caused by the effect of COVID-19 on global economy.
Nasarawa state Deputy Governor and Chairman of the state’s Special Task Force on COVID-19, Dr Emmanuel Akabe, disclosed this at media briefing on Thursday in Lafia.
Baba said the evacuation became necessary because the Almajiris were living in an unhealthy condition, congested and filthy environment.
She said some of the affected children were returned to their parents in different states, noting that they would be better protected by staying with their respective parents.
The commissioner added that the environment which the Almajiris reside along Kano Road, Kaduna was also demolished prevent spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
”With over 300 of them from different states living in one environment, if the Coronavirus outbreak emerges, it will spread like wild fire.
“It is our responsibility as government to protect every person, any Almijiri caught will be sent back to their respective states.
“In spite of the lockdown across states, our team alongside security agencies will continue with the evacuation exercise,” she said.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Akabe also announced new measures by the government to prevent the spread of the virus and to manage the economy of the state in view of the harsh impact of COVID-19 on the nation and the world.
He noted that the virus has adversely impacted on the nation’s economy to the extent of a reduction of the oil benchmark for the 2020 budget from $57 per barrel to $30 per barrel.
“The Nigerian 2020 budget was based on a $57 per barrel. But now our crude oil is going for less than $30 per barrel. The federal government has constituted a committee to look into the national budget and they are working on a $30 per barrel budget but from all indications, we may not even be able to achieve the $30 dollar per barrel budget.
“Because of that, we in Nasarawa state must start looking inward and the sub-committee on budget has looked at the worst case scenario.
“From all indications we must cut our budget; government expenditure by over 60 per cent.
“It’s a hard time but that is the truth. We must cut down the cost of governance by over 60 per cent if Nasarawa state must survive,” he said.
The Nasarawa state Deputy governor also announced that the government had mandated the commissioner of agriculture to identify food reservoirs across the state with a view to purchasing the agricultural produce available and reserving them to mitigate the effect of a total shutdown should it happen.
“We are looking at the possibility that there might be a total shutdown anytime. So we are looking at the issues of food reserves.
“So the ministry of agriculture and commissioner of agriculture have been mandated to go round the state, identify the reservoirs and bring a proposal immediately with a budget line and how we can now begin to purchase food and reserve them just in case there is a total shutdown,” he said.
He added that taskforces would be established in every local government areas to be chaired by the council chairmen,while the taskforce at the state level would be chaired by the state Commissioner of Health, Mr Ahmed Yahaya.
He said other members of the taskforce would include the director of health, representative of the traditional council, representative of Ja’amatu Nasril N Islam, Christian Association of Nigeria and civil society organisations.
NAN reports that other measures taken by the state government included shutting down of worship centres and markets among others. (NAN