The continuous growing and catastrophic emergence of street beggars in the city of Maiduguri has reached an alarming rate recently. It is even more dangerous considering the configuration of the beggars who mostly come from the internally displaced persons camps.
It’s noteworthy that the majority of the recent beggars are not almajiri and most of them are girls, women and school-age children who can be easily manipulated and used by undesirable elements in perpetrating crimes. The girls are in constant danger of being exploited or worse being raped.
A recent fire outbreak at the post office market was linked to the children roaming the street. It is also painful that the majority of the women begging have small children. They often send the kids to beg while they watch from a distance.
It’s an issue of major concern to all well-meaning people. One begins to wonder about the fate of those little kids caught up as victims of circumstance in this ugly scenario. It is a ticking time bomb waiting to denote at the slightest given opportunity.
The efforts of government and non-governmental organisations in internally displaced people camps and host communities have been commendable over the years but there is still much to be done.
The Borno State government’s plan of reducing street begging by enrolling a good number of people living with disabilities and vulnerable people into a government payroll, paying them N30,000 monthly is commendable. However, it is sad to note that many of the beneficiaries have not been receiving while some just get N15,000.
This has shown that the only way out is to train and equip them with skills to make them self-reliant.
Similarly, appropriate measures must be deployed to ensure those who are supposed to be in school are kept out of the streets and in school.
Safiya Abdulrahaman, University of Maiduguri