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Kwara: My Experience With A Street Beggar, How The Government Could Curtail The Menace

It is no longer a thing of surprise or strange to see beggars flock the streets, nooks and crannies of many states in Nigeria. To be specific, would lay emphasis on where I come from and based on findings, hear-says, personal encounters, amidst many other basis to which this write-up has been compiled.

Little quick diversion, it is no news that the Northern part of the country sees more of this case scenario and one of such major ones is the Almanijiris, known to mostly comprise of young boys and males in their adolescence. From my few long term stay in some parts of the North such as Kano, Yobe, Kaduna, Jigawa, Jos, etc., the perspective as to the continuous rise in flock of the Almanjiris is basically parental, as many of these kids have parents and have homes so to say, but what has prompted their flocking is the detrimental lack of basic and social amenities in the family of these kids, but one good side I have come to see off this flocking is that they also get to learn and study the Quran, Hadith and other basic Islamic etiquettes. But looking at the elderly perspective, where you find elder men, women and specially-abled ones begging for alms is another aspect of the story.

Back to the matter, Kwara State is regarded and sectioned as a North-Central state, reason to this is till hilariously on ponder in the minds of many indigenes, because about 90% of Kwarans don’t understand or speak Hausa, above all Yoruba is the main language amidst other tribal dialects and languages. The incessant rise in the number of beggars in the state is now quite alarming and most of these beggars are known to be from the North (Hausa) and have migrated here to seek alms with no option or mindset of returning back home anytime, because some have become that familiar within the state capital specifically.

Alas, note that not only the people from the North are seen flocking the streets of Ilorin for alms, alarming enough are elderly indigents of the capital itself mostly women, as complaints are now rising of the pestering from these elderly women. Many have even reported that some are mandate to specific joints 24/7 you’d always meet them there and for quite some years now that they’ve being at it. The Kwara State government had years back promised to subdue this eye-sore by providing stipends locally known as “owo arugbo i.e. money for the elderly” of certain amount to this elderly women on basic agreement and duration and also to possibly help some start-up a petty business for those willing and able, fingers-crossed on how far that has gone because we still have these women in corners and spots in the capital.

There also are the young and abled bodied youths too going around in like manner, this quite disheartens me to see, at all at all no work is too small but they make me wonder if begging for alms is actually a trait or genetic, funny enough some basically use the little they get to still flex, drink alcohol and smoke weed.

Make I burst your brain, some beggars have even gone to the extent that they reject certain donations and say it’s too small. In all honesty I have met with such scenario one’s before; the beggar didn’t say the words but the facial expression said it all when I handed her certain change I had on me to spare. On another occasion was where I was just in the midst of where someone begged for alms and complained verbally that this amount is too small to accept, I was shocked but not surprised as I have met such too, I just smiled and walked away.

Now to the koko of the matter, nothing good comes easy; yes. But based on perspectives, people have these ideas and advice as to curtailing this menace of beggars flocking and petering other people:

1. That the state government create a facility or erect a building where the specially-abled ones and beggars can be lodged in and catered for within the capacity of the government and also anyone who has alms to give can easily visit such place;

2. Some were of the suggestion that for those form other states, the state government should find a means to gather these beggars and send them back to their states of origin;

3. Suggestions also had it that some of these elderly women (indigents) be looked into on a background-check to find out the cause and why they are on the streets;

4. Abled body people begging for alms be gathered for a symposium and trained on skill acquisitions, afterwards be empowered duly with the rule that if they are ever found on the streets again, necessary actions shall be taken against them.

All in all, suggestions full ground, what is your opinion or which of these listed ones would you prefer to be implemented?

Abdulmajeed Mohammed is my name

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