…Calls for Begging to Be Made Illegal
The Federal Capital Territory Administration’s Social Development Secretariat (SDS) has raised worry about the recent influx of beggars into the territory.
The Secretariat described the situation as “overwhelming,” blaming it on the never-ending insecurity in numerous northern regions.
Sani Amar, the Acting Director of the Secretariat’s Social Welfare Department, said this on Tuesday during a visit by participants of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies’ senior executive course 44, 2022, to the FCT Vocational and Rehabilitation Centre, Bwari.
Amar also frowned at the United Nation’s human rights act which prohibits the detention of arrested persons beyond three days, noting that such provisions has also served as catalyst for the swelling number of beggars in the city.
The Director, however, explained that the secretariat has been struggling to keep the streets of Abuja free of beggars and destitues lately, but noticed that its efforts has not yielded the desired result.
He expressed concerns that before now, its officials usually arrest between 20-25 beggars during their routine sanitation exercise. The situation he added, has changed drastically
as officials of the Secretariat now arrest over 100 beggars and destitutes in one single operation.
While calling for the need for government and the council of states to act fast by pushing for a legislation that will criminalize begging, he added that if punitive actions are meted at those who hide under the cover of begging to defraud innocent Nigerians, the menace will stop.
He, therefore, called on neighboring states of the FCT, particularly those at its northern borders to put in place policies that will discourage the brewing of street begging as the FCT ends up being at the receiving end of the consequences of the menace.
According to him: “What we notice, the recent influx of beggars in the city is so overwhelming. In a day before, when we go round, we apprehend about 20 people, but now in one spot we arrest 100 plus”
“And our major problem is the United Nations human right act that says you can’t detain human being beyond three days and then couple with the fact that their feeding is cost, so this people have made it just like a business.
“The insurgency, banditry, in the North generally is too much. The beggars now are not people with disability. Majority of them are able bodied, with their women and children. I think there is need for government to see if the council of states can do something about this influx, so that states responsible can provide succour for the beggars”
“So what we are trying we are trying to do now is to advise the authorities if they can explore any law/act that will at least make it deterrent to anybody because so many of them were apprehended with huge amount of money.
” Some with 120,000 naira, 200,000 nairaand they are yet begging”.