No street begging: Lagos removes beggers, others from Lekki streets
“The Commissioner, Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Mr Mobolaji Ogunlende, has said Lagos State Government will not tolerate street begging in any part of the state.
He pointed out that the act of begging or using babies to solicit alms “is not part of our religion or culture.”
He added, “It doesn’t support the socioeconomic growth of any state. It is counterproductive because some of the so-called beggars have been discovered to be involved in criminality.”
The commissioner spoke while leading “Special Rescue Operations ” organised by the Ministry on Thursday in collaboration with the Lagos State Task Force to sanitise the state of street begging in the Lekki area.
Ogunlende said before the Thursday exercise — aimed at enforcing the relevant sections of the state government laws, as well as the Child Rights Law banning begging — 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.
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.
“Every Lagosian 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.
She 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.”
During the operation in Lekki, many beggars were taken off the streets.