The acting Director, Social Welfare Department of the Secretariat, Alhaji Sani Amar, made this known when participants of the senior executive course 44, 2022 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Jos visited the FCT Vocational and Rehabilitation Centre, Bwari.
He also blamed the ugly trend on the unending insecurity in some states of the North, describing the situation as overwhelming.
Amar also frowned at the United Nation’s human rights act which prohibits the detention of arrested persons beyond three days, noting that such provisions had also served as catalyst for the swelling number of beggars in the city.
He explained further that the secretariat had been struggling to keep the streets of Abuja free of beggars and destitutes lately, but its efforts had not yielded the desired result.
He expressed concern that before now, its officials usually arrested between 20 and 25 beggars during routine exercise.
Amar, however, said that the situation had changed drastically as officials of the secretariat were now arresting over 100 beggars and destitutes in one single operation.
He stressed the need for the Federal Government and the Council of States to act fast by pushing for a legislation that would criminalise begging.
Amar added that if punitive actions were meted out at those who hide under the cover of begging to defraud innocent Nigerians, the menace would stop.
The director, therefore, called on neighbouring states of the FCT, particularly those at its northern borders to put in place policies that would discourage the brewing of street begging “as the FCT ends up being at the receiving end of the consequences of the menace.
“What we notice is that the recent influx of beggars in the city is so overwhelming. In a day before, when we go round, we apprehend about 20 people, but now in one spot we arrest 100 plus.
“And our major problem is the United Nations Human Right act that says you can’t detain human being beyond three days and then couple with the fact that feeding them is costly, so these people have made it a business.
“The insurgency, banditry in the North generally is too much. The beggars now are not people with disability. Majority of them are able bodied, with their women and children.
” I think there is need for government to see if the Council of States can do something about this influx, so that states responsible can provide succour for the beggars.
“So what we are trying to do now is to advise the authorities if they can explore any that will at least make it a deterrent for anybody because so many of them were apprehended with huge amount of money.”
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ROYAL NEWS eCopy March 28, 2022
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