News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

Lagos battles beggars

Nigerian beggars invade streets in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Twitter photo.

By Lucy Osuizigbo

Many beggars have invaded Lagos streets with many feigning illness to deceive innocent persons to get alms, the Chairman of the Lagos State Taskforce, Mr. Olayinka Egbeyemi, has said.

Lagos residents should be cautious when giving alms, with many of such fake beggars trooping into state daily.

Egbeyemi paraded a 40-year-old female suspect arrested by the operatives of the State Taskforce at Oshodi, Lagos.

He said: “The rate at which these fake beggars operate in the state calls for concern.’’

“That is why the Agency is collaborating with relevant government Ministries, Agencies and Departments to get rid of these beggars on the streets and roads of Lagos.

“The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr Fatai Owoseni has directed that the suspect be immediately charged to court,” he said.

The suspect said that she bandaged her son’s leg with two rolls of white bandages and poured Gentian Violet (GV) on the leg everyday to deceive members of the public to give alms to the boy.

She said she made a lot of money in the Oshodi area of the state.

The suspect pleaded with the government not to charge her to court, saying she was ready to go back to her town and re-unite with her family voluntarily.

Beggars arriving in Lagos. Twitter photo.

Nigerian beggars have gone international as many were alleged to have take over the streets of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, forcing the oil rich country to clampdown on them.

The issue of the beggars was brought to fore by Abdur-Rahman Balogun, media aide to Mrs. Abika Dabiri-Erewa, Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora Matters.

Balogun in a facebook post on his page said the beggars mainly female who were found begging for alms in the Holy City became abusive when they noticed him taking their pictures.

“They covered their faces when they saw me taking their photographs. They even went wild saying “uwanka” to me, throwing their slippers at me. It is a shame indeed! They do arrest them from time to time,” Balogun wrote.

Others who contributed on the Facebook post of Balogun gave their unpleasant experiences with most querying how the beggars got to Saudi.

Rafat Idris Salami posted: “I was insulted and nearly lynched 2yrs ago by children when I questioned why I should give them anything and why their parents would throw them in the streets. Those parents are not far from where the children are. I am told that are children of illegal immigrants and they come out mostly during Hajj. If street begging were an Islamic culture you would have seen other nationalities but the beggars I saw were mostly Nigerians.”

Also, Tanko Dada said that Balogun “you were lucky that their parents did not mob you, the sad thing about this anti-Islamic act is that they sometimes fold the arms or legs of the child to give an impression that they have lost their limbs or hands.”