You’ll Soon Be Tired – Lagos Beggars React Over Clamp Down By Task Force 

Posted on November 20, 2023
MICHAEL AKINOLA 
 
The efforts of the Lagos State Government to get rid of street beggars may be an exercise in futility following the reactions of some of the beggars, who described the raiding as a waste of time. 
P.M.EXPRESS reports that some of the street beggars dared the Government and claimed that the worst thing the Task Force will do to them is to arrest, prosecute and send them to prison and if they regained their freedom, they will return to the streets and continue with begging.
“The Task Force will soon be tired of  raiding us and they will not stop us from begging because the Government did not provide alternatives for the jobless people” one of the beggars identified as Aliu Ibrahim stated.
The Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development in collaboration with the State Task Force on Environmental Sanitation and other Offences began the raiding of street beggars across Lagos a long time ago.
The Government tagged it ”Special Rescue Operations” and the exercise, which kicked off in Lekki area of the State on Thursday, was led by the Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr. Mobolaji Ogunlende, in company of the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Toyin Oke-Osanyintolu and the Chairman of the Task Force, CSP Shola Jejeloye.
During the operation, the Commissioner emphasised that the Lagos State Government will not tolerate street begging in may part of the State and pointed out that the act of begging or using babies to solicit alms is not part of the religion or culture of the State.
” It doesn’t support the socio-economic growth of any state. It is counterproductive because some of the so-called beggars have been discovered to be involved in criminality.”, the Commissioner emphasised.
The Commissioner disclosed that the Ministry had carried out massive advocacy and sensitisation to help Lagosians, especially the public spirited ones, know what to do with respect to helping the underprivileged in the state, before the commencement of the raid exercise, aimed at enforcing the relevant sections of the State Government laws, as well as the Child Rights Law banning begging.
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He added, “Street begging has been banned in Kano, Kaduna and other states in Nigeria. So why not Lagos State? We advise those who want to help the less privileged among us to take their gift items, be it cash or materials, to our Homes or Centres designated for the purpose of helping the needy.
Speaking on the “Special Rescue Operations”, the Permanent Secretary, Mrs Toyin Oke-Osanyintolu said the Ministry decided to embark on the exercise following series of reports from Lagosians to the Ministry, who complained of being incessantly harassed by street beggars.
“Series of reports reaching the Ministry from Lagosians bordering on being harassed by beggars on the street prompted us to embark on this exercise to sanitise the state.”
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“Every Lagosians, irrespective of religion or tribe, deserves a safe environment to live, work or do business without molestation.This we will achieve by showing zero tolerance for street begging,” she added.
Oke-Osanyintolu warned people in the habit of using babies to solicit alms to desist from and engage in legitimate business.
The Permanent Secretary noted that if such persons were caught, they would be made to face the full wrath of the law. She  added that those who were caught on Thursday would have their day in Court.
Mr Shola Jejeloye, who led the Lagos State Task Force on the “Special Rescue Operations ” said, “The task of ridding Lagos State of street begging is non negotiable.
“It is going to be a continuous exercise. We have decided to do it in the broad daylight for Lagosians to get the message that there is no room for street begging in the state.”
However,  the beggars seem not worried by the threat by the Task Force and were very busy begging in some areas including Mushin,  Oshodi,  Agege,  Ikotun,  Igando, Okota, Isolo,  Ebute Metta,  Yaba and other areas in the State.

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