Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Nigerian Government should place a ban on street begging


Street begging is the act of asking for alms and meagre assistance from passers-by along the road. It is practiced by men and women of all age-grade and spans across virtually every society. Begging itself is an age-long social problem in Nigeria and with each passing year, beggars get to improvise this trade with new trends and inventions.

Findings have shown that street begging is more common among those of the north and is not limited to young people alone. Adults also participate in this norm.
Recently, some people in order to get assistance from passers-by pretend to be blind and go about being led by a younger person. Some pretend to be stranded, having come from a far distance and thus, need money for transportation, while others claim to have no money to help their loved ones admitted in the hospital.

Although several strategies have been employed by the government, corporate organizations and public spirited individuals to combat this ugly trend but it doesn’t seem there will be an end to it. In Lagos State for instance, rehabilitation centres are evenly erected to accommodate a number of destitutes and they are not only housed but trained on how they can be useful to themselves and the society. 

Other state governments have also at one time or the other sent law enforcement agents to rid the streets of beggars and keep them in rehabilitation centres, but this exercise has often been short-lived. 

It is important that the government employ all measures to put a stop to street begging by placing a ban on this ill to avoid the spread of diseases like polio from infected street beggars to passers-by and defaulters should be penalized.

In addition, Diverted Giving Scheme (DGS) should be introduced in Nigeria. It is a means of encouraging people to put money in charity boxes placed in strategic places rather than putting money in the hands of beggars. The monies donated will then be sent to welfare agencies who would utilize same for the upkeep of destitutes and the less privileged.

Since rehabilitation centres have been found to be an alternative to keeping beggars off the street, the existing ones should be provided with basic amenities and necessities so that inmates will feel comfortable and going to the streets would be the least on their minds.

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