The Lagos State Government has vowed not to tolerate street begging in any part of the state.
The state Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr Mobolaji Ogunlende stated this recently.
Ogunlende spoke while leading “Special Rescue Operations ” organised by the Ministry in collaboration with the Lagos State Task Force to sanitize the State of street begging in Lekki axis of the state.
He said : “the act of begging or using babies to solicit alms is not part of our religion or culture.
“It doesn’t support the socio-economic growth of any state.
“It is counter-productive because some of the so-called beggars have been discovered to be involved in criminality.”
According to Ogunlende, the re-activation of the “Special Rescue Operations” is aimed at enforcing the relevant sections of the State Government Laws as well as the Child Rights Law banning begging.
It will be recalled that the Ministry had carried out massive advocacy and sensitisation to help Lagosians, especially the public spirited ones, know what to do with respect to helping the less privileged in the State.
“Street begging has been banned in Kano, Kaduna and other states in Nigeria.
“So why not Lagos State?We advise those who want to help the less privileged amongst us to take their gift items be it cash or materials to our Homes or Centres designated for the purpose of helping the needy, ” Ogunlende added.
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs Toyin Oke-Osanyintolu said the Ministry embarked on the exercise following series of reports from Lagosians who complained of being incessantly harassed by street beggars.
She said : “Series of reports reaching the Ministry from Lagosians bordering on being harassed by beggars on the street prompted us to embark on this exercise to sanitize the State.
“Every Lagosian, irrespective of religion or tribe deserves a safe environment to live, work or do business without molestation.
“This we will achieve by showing zero tolerance for street begging.”
Oke-Osanyintolu warned those who have formed the habit of using babies to solicit alms to desist and engage in legitimate business.
She whoever is caught in the act will be made to face the full wrath of the law, adding that those who were caught today would have their case in court.
On his part, Mr Shola Jejeloye, who led the Lagos State Task Force on the “Special Rescue Operations ” said the task of ridding Lagos State of street begging is non negotiable.
He said the operation : “is going to be a continuous exercise. We have decided to do it in the broad daylight for Lagosians to get the message that there is no room for street begging in the State.
“It is part of our statutory responsibilities to support the enforcement of any law enacted by the State House of Assembly for the good of everyone.
“We are ready to collaborate with every Ministry, Department or Agency in this regard.”
Many beggars were taken off the streets in Lekki area during the operation. (vitalnewsngr.com)