The Gombe State government has discharged another batch of 153 Almajirai children who tested negative to coronavirus after the two weeks mandatory quarantine period at its Amada facility in Akko Local Government Area of the state.
The governor, Inuwa Yahaya, who was at the quarantine centre to mark the 2020 children's day celebration with the kids preparatory to their departure to their respective communities, said his government is committed to prioritising basic education through a sustained support to both western and Islamic systems of education.
Northern state governors recently moved to eradicate the almajiri system in the region.
Under the Islamic religious education system, children are pooled from various locations into Quranic schools and they survive by begging on the streets for food and alms.
Following the coronavirus pandemic, northern state governors have been dispersing the almajiris and repatriating those whose parents are from other states.
Many of the street kids searching for Islamic knowledge across the north have been infected by the deadly coronavirus in recent days as state governments scramble frantically to send them back to their respective states.
The governor noted that nobody can manage a child better than his parents, as such, the government will ensure the state's indigenous almajiris returned from various states are reunited with their family members.
"These children deserve to achieve anything in life if given the desired care and attention. I assure that our administration will support them to attain their goals through a sound western and Islamic education."
"In fact, we are committed to bequeathing a good future for them. We shall provide structures and facilities that can accommodate them and take care of their basic needs so that they can learn and attain their goals like every other child. Education is a right and not a privilege".
The governor encouraged the children to nurse and pursue their dreams of a bright future, citing Ibrahim Pantami, a minister of the federal republic as one of the products of the tsangaya system who embraced the western education and became a shining example.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Education, Habu Dahiru, said the 153 Almajiris discharged from the quarantine camp were those returned from Adamawa and Bauchi states and are indigenes of Dukku, Nafada, Balanga and Yamaltu Deba Local Government areas.
He disclosed that there are currently 13 almajirai in the camp waiting for their second test results.
The Commissioner revealed that the camp registered a total of 684 people since inception, including 377 almajiris and 307 intercepted travellers, adding that so far, 671 have received a clean bill of health and were discharged after a second test that returned negative.
The Deputy camp Director, Yusuf Danbayo, described the condition at the camp as suitable for children, with the kids taking good meals and having access to Qur'anic education as well as enjoying the recreational facilities there.
He said the two weeks stay in the quarantine centre was recreational, hence, they were provided with all the basic things they needed throughout their stay.
All the 153 discharged Almajirai were kitted with new clothes, shoes and bags containing educational materials and are to be integrated into a formal education system under the Basic Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) at their respective localities.