Northern governors resolve to purchase COVID-19 mobile test vans, enforce inter-state travel restriction

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The Northern Governors’ Forum met via teleconferencing on May 1st, 2020 in continuation of deliberations that centred on containing the spread of COVID-19 infections in the northern states.

Presided over by Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Plateau State Simon Bako Lalong, the meeting reviewed, amongbother issues, and agreed to request for more COVID-19 Testing Centres in the North which were grossly inadequate.

The Forum acknowledged some improvement through the intervention of the Federal Government, but said it was still a far cry going by the northern population and increase in COVID-19 cases.

It therefore decided to purchase mobile Testing Vans which, as believed, would 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 in the state.

On the issue of inter-State boundaries closure, the Northern Governors expressed serious concern that despite their efforts, the borders were still being compromised and more illegal routes were being created which was giving rise to more inter-state transfer of COVID-19.

The governors also noted that some of the trucks transporting goods were also used in smuggling people across States in violation of movement restrictions.

They decided to close all their boundaries from 6pm to 7am to all trucks carrying goods so as to enable proper scrutiny and examination the following day, which was difficult to achieve in the night when most of the infractions happened.

They also agreed to increase the use of vigilance groups, neighbourhood watch, and traditional rulers in enforcing the boundary closures.

On the profiling and return of Almajiris to their States of origin, the Governors noted that the exercise had commenced and was going on well except for some few logistic challenges, which were being addressed, between Governors of originating and receiving States.

They 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 was being developed and would soon be presented to the Forum.

They 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 were afraid to go their farms for fear of attacks.

The Northern Governors commended the efforts of the Private Sector-led Coalition Against Coronavirus (COCAVID) which had commenced the distribution of palliatives to States.

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