BY MUHAMMAD ADAMU
The Almajiris have already been neglected in good times and there is zero assurance that they would not be neglected in these bad times. The pandemic of Covid-19 is yet to reach 100 suspected cases, not because the government is trying but because it has not gotten to the right states.
I would not be shocked waking up one day and hearing that the Covid-19 suspected cases of Nigeria have moved from 61 to 1 million. It is too easy for such to happen here in Nigeria. Okay, let’s be realistic. Imagine an Almajiri living in Sokoto state gets affected by this coronavirus. An Almajiri walks from place to place alone or in group.
Let me break the story down for you. A very wealthy man who recently came back from the United kingdom was infected with the coronavirus without his knowledge. He lives in Sokoto state. Musa is an almajiri, as usual, looking tattered, unwell and hungry. Musa heard there is a pandemic but he knows nothing about it because no one has ever tried to educate him about him.
And all this Mallam told him was that “anyone destined to die by the virus will definitely die.” Musa saw the rich man inside his compound walking around and saw it, as a great opportunity to ask from him.
“God’s servant, help me with money ₦20 to buy garri to eat” Musa said, the rich man came out to hand Musa ₦1000 out of pity for him. But, Musa was so dusty that the rich man had to sneeze close to him. Musa, who knew nothing about coronavirus was so excited and prayed for the rich man ” May God increase you in abundance,” Musa appreciated.
Musa ran back to his school out of excitement, He quickly went to his Mallam who was also happy for him, and gave the Mallam the money to help him hold it. Unfortunately, the mallam was in a rush he had another meeting to attend. With that ₦1000, he took public transport to his destination and hands over the ₦1000 naira to the driver who holds it tight.
Now it had been seven days since the rich man and Musa encountered making it the fifteen-day since the rich man returned from Europe. The Nigeria Center for Disease Control has been called upon and all his family members and all those the rich man had encountered with, have been quarantined and taken to Gwagwalada the coronavirus safe haven for treatment.
The Minister of Health has just announced on the television that Sokoto suspected cases were taken care of. But, Musa was forgotten, the government never believed it was possible he could ever encounter with an almajiri. Meanwhile, Musa was an extrovert he talks a lot and loves to make new friends.
Musa became sick but no medication to care for him because he had no medical insurance to treat him neither does he sit back at home, he always had to go out to beg from people to eat.
After few days, Musa died, he was returned to his Almajiri school thanks to the help of other kids who were not from his school but knew him and his Mallam.
When Musa’s corpse was taken to his school, his mallam returned from Wammako, where he had attended a meeting.
The older boys were confused, they started checking to confirm if it was actually their Mallam and Musa’s corpse. They opened their faces and kissed them and covered it back to make it clear that it was indeed their corpses.
Before the Mallam’s corpse returned, five of Musa’s closest friends were dead already, that same night several other almajiri schools had announced massive death of their students. And the number keeps counting but the government remain unconcerned.
The government should as a matter of urgency return every almajiri back to their parents and give them basic necessities because you cannot just send them back to die of hunger. We know billions have been donated to the government and if the government is really sincere it can feed all Nigerians within three months. Let the action commence now, we are in a red zone, the faster the better for us all as a country.