The Coalition against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) has censured the Lagos State Government for the prosecution of 39 beggars at the Special Offences Court in Alausa, Ikeja, for soliciting alms.

The Lagos State government has claimed that the beggars constituted public nuisance and were parading themselves as disorderly persons without viable means of livelihood, thereby committing an offence under the Criminal law of Lagos State.

Reacting to the action of Lagos State government, the Executive Chairman of CACOL, Debo Adeniran described the arraignment and the imprisonment of the beggars as incongruous and heartless.

“If the government 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 elites and the rich in Lagos State than the mass of Lagos people.

It is preposterous for the government to imagine that rather than embarking on projects to alleviate the afflictions of the masses, it could result to the use of force to deter people from street-begging. That is another show of self-centredness and elitist governance. 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. You can never make a city mega until you have made the welfare of its people mega,” Adeniran averred.

The human rights activist maintained that arraign beggars in the law court may not eradicate street-begging except the needful is done. He however advocated that the Lagos State government should drop the charges against 39 beggars and make provision for necessary modalities needed to rehabilitate the beggars to make them useful for themselves, families and the society at large.

Abimbola Adegoke
Media Officer
Tuesday, 05 February, 2013

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