COVID-19: Bauchi bans Almajiri system, suspends Ramadan Tafsir and congregational prayers

I am still in charge as governor of Bauchi,  Bala Mohammed speaks from isolation

Bauchi State government has joined other states by banning the Almajiri system across the state just as it also placed a ban on the operation of commercial motorcycle popularly called Achaba.

The announcement of the ban was made by the state governor, Senator Bala Mohammed, in a broadcast on Thursday evening, explaining that the old Almajiri system was no longer tenable and healthy in the midst of the dreaded coronavirus pandemic in the state.

Bala Mohammed further explained that "the Almajir system which operates through the aggregation and congregation of hundreds of children who beg by the day and cluster in large numbers at night may accelerate the spread of the coronavirus infection."

He also said that "there is an agreement by the Northern governors to ban the Almajiri system in the region. The Almajiri system is hereby banned in the state."

He added that "such learning must however be structured with classroom and adequate provision of accommodation facilities, and feeding. This ban does not affect established Islamiyya schools."

Bala Mohammed then declared that every Almajiri who are from other states across the country who resident in Bauchi State for the purpose of Almajiri will be sent to their various states, stressing that the ban was not done against the Islamic learning and scholarship, saying, "it will be encouraged by the government."

On the ban on commercial motorcycles, the governor states that investigations revealed that most of the Achaba riders came Bauchi State from neighbouring states and have populated the state.

"I'm sure you know that all our neighbouring states; Kano Jigawa, Gombe, Borno, Yobe, Taraba, Kaduna and the FCT have all banned the operation of commercial motorcycles otherwise known as Achaba. Unfortunately, they have relocated to our state posing a serious threat to security, hence the ban."

He however said that only tricycles popularly called 'Keke NAPEP' are now allowed to operate across Bauchi State with only two passengers, saying that the action was to control the spread of the coronavirus in the state.

On the Ramadan, Bala Mohammed said that the usual Ramadan Tafsir will not hold as was the practice where Muslim faithful will converge in mosques for the religious exercise.

"Government hereby restricts the conduct of Ramadan Tafsir to only the translator and reciter. This is to stop massive gathering in such occasions as this will escalate the spread of the virus through contacts."

He also said that the night prayers in congregation during the month of Ramadan is proscribed, urging faithful to only observe prayers at home.

The Governor further said that all markets across the state will only operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays "from 10.00 .am. to 2.00 p.m. effective Sunday, April 26, 2020."

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