Senate Moves to Abolish Street Begging Across Nigeria
The Nigerian Senate has waded in on the menace of street begging by enacting a law that would make the act illegal across the country.
Describing it as “embarrassing”, the Senate lamented the rapidly growing trend, particularly in the northern part of the country, and called for immediate action to bring it under control, Punch writes.
This was contained in a motion by Isah Misau (APC, Bauchi-Central), titled ‘Menace of Street Begging and the Need to Rehabilitate Beggars,’ where he posited that beggars constituted a nuisance on the streets of city centres across the country
“Though street begging is a global urban problem, the situation in Nigeria appears intractable and overwhelming, as beggars are now found everywhere, especially at motor parks, religious centres, road junctions, venue of ceremonies and other public places,” he said.
“In recent times, there appear to be a new vogue of beggars in town, derisively known as corporate beggars, who take advantage of the sympathy of the society for the less privileged to remain jobless and at times perpetrate crimes in the name of street begging.
“The Senate is further aware that unconfirmed reports have it that an average of 65 per cent of beggars from the northern part of the country flock into Lagos to beg every year, with the Federal Capital Territory battling similar statistics.
“The Senate acknowledges that street begging affects not only the geographical and social structure of urban areas, it also portrays the country in a bad light to tourists and foreign visitors.
Supporting the motion, Senators Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa-West) and Danjuma Goje (Gombe-Central), called for the immediate enactment of a law to end street begging.
In his remarks, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, said the motion should be sustained in addition to the bill.
“The issue of street begging has to do with a function of culture that has to be reversed. We need to do more to improve the welfare of the masses to discourage begging,” Ekweremadu said.
While the move by the senate is to be commended, there’s the more practical question of how government intends to rehabilitate these beggars.
With the prevalent recession, and unemployment at a record low, we just may be stuck with this urban blight for some time.
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