Despite attempts by the Lagos State Government to rid the state of street begging, there has been an increase in the number of street beggars and destitutes in recent times. They are often seen cluttered around markets, road junctions, bus terminals, event centres and public functions, begging for alms every chance they get. They are of different tribes, gender, religions, and ages – even little children are not left out, as they are sometimes seen begging for alms with their parents. Babies are also strapped to the backs of their mothers while begging.
You cannot but feel sorry for these beggars and destitutes, especially as they look pitiable and scruffy in old, worn-out clothes and footwears. Still, you cannot deny the fact that they are a social menace. You see them everywhere, when you’re driving in traffic, when you step out of the church, when you attend a wedding ceremony, when you go to an eatery for a meal, when you’re at a bus terminal and waiting for the commercial bus to fill up, or even when you use the ATM (There are actually some who stand around ATMs), sometimes brazenly demanding for money or food and persistently getting in your way. They deliberately rub their sad condition in your face and somehow make you feel responsible for it.
The clutter formed by these beggars and destitutes in different parts of the state only adds to the filth and litter of Lagos and the beauty of the town is hidden behind the display of poverty. Also, by pretending to be street beggars, miscreants and criminals carry out their nefarious activities on unsuspecting victims.
Thus, it is imperative for the state government to purge Lagos of this social menace. Although previous governments have made attempts to reduce this menace to its barest minimum, it is the responsibility of Ambode’s government to ensure that more stringent measures are taken to rid the state completely of it. However, it is not enough for the government to make and enforce laws prohibiting street begging. Perhaps homes, shelters, and boarding houses should be built and jobs should be provided in order to reduce the occurrence of street begging in Lagos.
Photo Credit: Temitope Aina