February 6, 2013 by Sodiq Oyeleke
The Coalition against Corrupt Leaders has condemned the Lagos State Government for prosecuting 39 beggars.
The LASG prosecuted the beggars in its Special Offences Court in Alausa, Ikeja, for soliciting alms.
The state also claimed the beggars constituted public nuisance thereby committing an offence under the criminal law of the state.
Reacting to the government action, the Executive Chairman of the group, Debo Adeniran, described the arraignment and the imprisonment of the beggars as “incongruous and heartless”.
He said, “If the governments have not failed in their duties at federal, state and local levels, we should not have beggars on our streets in the first instance. It is failure of our government at all levels to make life conducive that plunged many into begging business. It is absurd for a government to arraign beggars and sentence them to jail.
“Before the Lagos government could arrest beggars, they should have done their homework well. They should provide vocational centres and rehabilitation homes for the beggars with allowances for these beggars to deter them from going back to the street. The Lagos government has shown that it is more interested in the elite and the rich in the state than the mass of Lagos people.”
He advised the government to embark on projects that would alleviate the hardship of the people, adding that the use of force would not stop street-begging.
Adeniran said, “The apathetic attitude of the present government in Lagos State to issues that pertain to the Lagos masses has caused much havoc in the state resulting in the dwindling popularity of Fashola government, and care must be taken so as not to engender the anger of the masses.
“That is another show of self-centredness and elitist governance. You can never make a city mega until you have made the welfare of its people mega.”