Lagos State Government has arraigned 39 beggars at the Special Offences Court in Alausa, Ikeja for soliciting alms.
The suit against the beggars was a renewed drive in the war against begging in the state.
The government said the beggars constituted public nuisance, adding that it would no longer be business as usual as any beggar found on the streets of Lagos would be prosecuted.
Their charge sheet said the beggars were parading themselves as disorderly persons without viable means of livelihood, thereby committing an offence under the criminal law of Lagos State.
They were also accused of conducting themselves in a manner likely to cause breach of peace as well as for receiving unauthorised levy from persons and thus committed offence punishable under the law on illegal collection of dues in public places.
“We have rehabilitated a large number of them, but some of them do not want to be rehabilitated and they don’t want to work. They feel more comfortable preying on people with superstitious beliefs.
“Some people believe that if they are unlucky in certain cases, what they need to do is to give alms to beggars so that their fortune can change.
“A lot of beggars now prey on these people’s superstitious beliefs to get money from them. Many of them pretend to be blind or crippled. They make more money than many employed people.”“We tried to make some of them learn trade, but they don’t want to work. Some of them don’t want to use the skill we taught them to work. They prefer to be on the road because they make more money.''
The 39 beggars pleaded guilty to the offences and were consequently remanded in Kirikiri and Badagry Prisons.
...as for me, I believe this is the right step in the right direction, others need to learn and the Edo state Government need to adopt such policy...but if you have a different opinion, please let me know in the comment box below.