By Bode Akinbode, Ibadan
Oyo State government on Thursday continued on its efforts to rid the State of destitute and provide succor to children used for begging in the State by evacuating 41 beggars and 9 mentally-deranged individuals from major areas of Ibadan metropolis
The exercise which began by 10:05am at Mokola, Ibadan North Local government was led by the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Inclusion, Alhaja Faosat Sanni, alongside a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), Matan Arewa Southwest Nigeria, a body that catered for the need of destitute from the Northern Nigeria, headed by its President, Hadjia Aishat Ismail.
Among the beggars, there were nine boys under twelve years old, six girls of the same age, fifteen men and ten women who were taken to special centers for rehabilitation by the government and the NGO.
The evacuated beggars were from Northern Nigeria and were taken to a special center managed by the Matan Arewa Southwest Nigeria, in Ibadan with the assurance that the State government would work together with body to give the children free education, feeding and other essentials to change their status in the society.
A total of nine mentally-deranged individuals taken away by the State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social inclusion to Emmanuel Rehabilitation Center For The Mentally-Ill, Oja’gbo, Ibadan for medical care and rehabilitation.
In her words, the Commissioner, Alhaja Faosat Sanni said steps have been taken to continually evacuate destitute and street beggars until the society accepted that begging was not a way of life and those with mental sickness should be taken to public health institution, rather than be left to roam the street.
She added that the State administration had concluded plans to fortify orphanage homes in the State with household items and gadgets that would engage the children inhabiting the institutions in their pass time after coming from school.
“This evacuation exercise will be done continually till we rid the State of the menace of using children to beg for alms instead of taking them to social institutions provided by government and NGOs where they will be be catered for, we shall be doing this alongside the effort to change parents’ attitude towards their wards.
“Oyo State government has done what it promised in the area of provision of free education, uniform and meal for these categories of citizens and we are not relenting, we are in the process of fortifying these orphanage homes with playing gadgets and other household items for recreation, electronic gadgets will be an addition.”
The President, Matan Arewa Southwest Nigeria, Hadjia Aisha Ismail appreciated the government for the continued effort to take the less privileged from the slums to special centers where they could access free education, feeding and shelter, condemning the culture of begging among a particular side of the country.
She urged the general public to desist from giving money to beggars on the street but to those that have families but unable to cater for them, urging individuals and corporate organizations to collaborate with government in giving support to the less privileged in the society.