Lagos State Government has declared zero tolerance for street begging. A task force has been constituted to deal with the menace.
Gatekeepers News reports that the Lagos State Government, Southwest Nigeria, has affirmed its zero tolerance for street begging and other activities that can cause impediments to the free flow of traffic and the safety of Lagosians.
The Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr Olusegun Dawodu, his Information and Strategy counterpart, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, and the Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, spoke at a press conference held at Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos State.
The trio made known different steps being taken by the government to curb activities of miscreants, beggars and hawks on roads.
Dawodu disclosed that a Special Task Force had been set up to address the menace.
He said curbing street begging is necessary to sanitise society and restore the dignity of those who have been sent on to the streets for alms begging and hawking.
Dawodu noted that the Special Team is expected to commence operation in the next few days.
He added that the team is necessary to address the menace of street begging base on intelligence reports that have revealed that some of the so-called beggars go about with dangerous weapons, assault and rob innocent Lagosians.
He said the state government will deploy a lot of human and material resources towards enlightenment and sensitisation via different media platforms.
“As they say, ‘enlightenment becomes entertainment without enforcement.’ That is why the way to go now is to enforce compliance with the laws of our state for sanity to reign in our society,” Dawodu said.
He implored Lagosians to take alms to recognised registered homes, orphanages, rehabilitation and faith-based organisations where they will be judiciously utilised for the right purpose of ameliorating the condition of the vulnerable.
He said taking alms to recognised institutions will discourage street begging in the state and help the state government to address the menace.
Dawodu also solicited for the support of religious and traditional leaders, political leaders at various levels as well as members of the press in the area of advocacy and enlightenment, adding that all hands must be on deck to discourage the inhuman culture of street begging which has the capacity to adversely affect the wellbeing of Lagosians.
“The road to our desired destination of “A Greater Lagos” has, among other man-made obstacles, street begging. As a responsible and responsive government, the Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration will not fold his arms and watch the state become a haven for beggars; it will take action to curb this menace.
“Street begging is a social vice that we cannot afford to watch attain uncontrollable level before we act. Otherwise, all the good plans and programmes to transform our state would be adversely affected. The same goes for Street Hawking.
“This has become Big Business to some groups of people. Our investigation revealed that Beggars and Hawkers (Children and Adults) are transported regularly from other parts of the country to Lagos with the sole aim of doing this odious “business” that demeans humanity and abuses innocence in the case of children, who are being pushed into this degrading trade.
“These groups of people have turned alms begging and hawking into a huge Business by collecting returns from beggars and hawkers, who incidentally, sleep under the bridges, motor parks, uncompleted or abandoned buildings and other places not conducive for human habitation,” Dawodu added.