From Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi

The Kebbi State Ministry of Religious Affairs has revealed that from May 2023 to March 2024 they have attended to a total of 23,542 mental health cases from various local government areas in the state and neighbouring countries.

Commissioner Arch. Muhammed Sani Aliyu confirmed this while briefing the press in Birnin Kebbi.

Additionally, State Hisbah, a department under the ministry, handled approximately 1,500 cases during the same period.

Aliyu elaborated on the various sections under the ministry, which include the Da’awa, Planning and Research Department, Shari’a Education Department, Community Services Department, and Almajiri Integrated Education department.

According to him, “three boards have been inaugurated with full membership to ensure community service delivery. We have Zakat and Sadaqah board. The board also intervened in cases of mental, health and other social challenges.

“Between May 2023 to date, about 23,542 mentally related cases patients received treatment and medications at the Zauro Psychiatric Medical Outreach”, he said.

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Arch. Aliyu explained that the patients were from various LGAs in the state including neighbouring countries like Niger Republic and Benin Republic.

He noted that the present administration, under the leadership of Governor Nasir Idris, increased monthly allowances to all LGAs from N100,000 to N500,000 to enable them to convey the patients to Zauro town, Birnin Kebbi Local Government.

Aliyu said that often the LGAs used to bring their patients in 8 buses every month and stressed that they have collaborated with Kwari Psychiatric Medical Hospital for better treatment of the patients.

While speaking on the activities of state Hisbah, an agency under his Ministry, Aliyu disclosed that the agency which drew its membership from 15 organisations including security agencies, Government, NGOs and scholars, have handled 1,500 cases since May 2023.

Out of these cases, the Commissioner disclosed that liquor and drugs related cases were 263, other immorality cases were 371, hemp and shisha smokers caught were 17, prostitution were 16 cases, pregnancies without marriages were 35 while forced marriages, abandoned babies were 6 and 17 cases respectfully.

He added that the Ministry will soon establish links with the Indonesian Embassy on the possibilities of strengthening bilateral cooperation in economic, socio-cultural and education cooperation.