El-Rufai threatens to sack health workers, jail parents of Almajiri pupils

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Controversial Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai has warned striking health workers in the state against industrial action, adding that workers who fail to report for duty should consider themselves sacked. The threat came on the heels of the seven-day strike called by the health workers in the state for the salary deductions imposed by the government ostensibly to support the Covid-19 relief effort.

 

He, however, vowed to keep the health facilities running and to protect staff members willing to provide services to the public. El-Rufai, in its official response to the notice of strike issued by the health workers, said that he would not succumb to blackmail.

 

A statement by Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Muyiwa Adekeye, warned: “Government rejects the strike threat and will regard persons who fail to show up at their assigned places of work as having forfeited their employment. Every health worker that is willing to work is required to sign the register at the Ministry of Health and the health institutions to which they are deployed.”

 

Following the ban on the almajiri system in the state, el-Rufai warned that parents who enroll their children into the almajiri Islamic education risk two years jail. El-Rufai stated this in Kaduna when he visited the 200 almajirai returned from Nasarawa State that was undergoing rehabilitation at Government College, Kurmin Mashi, Kaduna.

 

The governor also threatened to jail any Islamic cleric taking any child into the system, with a fine of N100,000 or N200,000 per child. The Commissioner for Human Services and Social Development, Hajiya Hafsat Baba, said that the state had so far received more than 900 almajirai from Kano, Bauchi, Plateau and Nasarawa states. Chief of Field Office, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Kaduna, Dr. Zakari Adam, commended the state government for its efforts in ensuring that all children go to school as against begging in the streets.

 

In a related vein, Kebbi State government has received another batch of 83 almajirai returned from Kano. They were received yesterday by the Commissioner for Health and Chairman of COVID-19, Ja’afaru Muhammad; Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hassan Shalla; and members of the COVID-19 Task Force at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp near Kalgo.

 

Muhammad confirmed that all the 83 returnees tested negative for the virus and were isolated before their return to Kebbi. He expressed gratitude to Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje for his care of the returnees. The 83 were later handed over to chairmen of their home councils to reunite them with their parents/guardians and to enable them continue with their education. Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi had received 61 almajirai from Kano last Friday.