At least 1,708 beggars and destitute have been expelled from Lagos State to their various states and countries by the Lagos State Government, says Special Adviser to the Governor on Youth and Social Development, Dr. Dolapo Badru.
Speaking at a ministerial press conference at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Secretariat in Alausa, Ikeja, Southwest Nigeria Thursday, Badru disclosed that “1,708 beggars and destitute were either transferred to their states of origin, or repatriated to their countries for reintegration.”
He said the rehabilitation department of the office dealt with the issues of begging and destitution in the state and that in line with the state government’s policy of ridding the streets of Lagos of beggars and destitute, the office had consistently embarked on an aggressive raid of beggars, mentally challenged and destitute from the streets, highways and over-head bridges of Lagos.
Badru stated that the mode of getting this category of persons into the rehabilitation centres is by referrals from members of the public and rescue operations carried out by the Office of Youth and Social Development.
“In the last one year, a total number of 3,114 beggars/destitute/mentally challenged were rescued in day and night operations. 2,695 were taken to the Rehabilitation and Training Centre, Owutu, Ikorodu, where the state government has made provisions for facilities to help in turning the lives of the destitute/beggars around, while the mentally unstable are given medical attention.
“Forty-eight children and toddlers were transferred to the Child Protection Unit; another 48 street children cleaning wind shields at traffic lights were rescued and transferred to the Special Correctional Centre for Boys, Oregun; eight were transferred to the Child Transit Home, Idi Araba while 315 Persons (203 male and 54 female) suspected to be criminals were however handed over to the Task Force for prosecution.
“Four hundred and three persons were released to their relatives through written applications. 123 complaints on begging and destitution via rescue hot lines were received from members of the public in the last one year, and were promptly responded to,” he disclosed.
According to Badru feedbacks were often received in recognition of the positive impact of the services rendered which was also aimed at reducing crime rate in the state, while appealing to members of the public to desist from giving alms to beggars/ destitute on the street as they constitute a menace and nuisance to the society.
He further enjoined members of the public who might wish to help the less privileged in the society to donate their widow’s mite to any registered orphanage, motherless babies’ home or government social welfare institution.
On adoption and fostering services, the special adviser disclosed that from April 2012 till date, 806 applications were received from prospective adopters out of which 740 were local and 44 international, while 15 applications were received for relative adoption and six were received for fostering and one for guardianship.
“Prospective adopters were screened in order to determine their suitability for adopting children; 350 provisional approval letters for adoption were granted. The Child Protection Unit has a critical role in ensuring that adequate care and protection are provided for vulnerable children such as abandoned, homeless, abused or other children whose right and privileges as entrenched in the Child Rights Law have been trampled upon.
“The unit is responsible for the rescue/referral of all abandoned babies/ lost but found children in the state to registered orphanages. It also carries out child audit on the registered orphanages in order to conduct a case review of the children in the homes. This is done with a view to decongesting the homes and discouraging institutionalization,” he explained.
Badru added that his office currently liaises with countries regarding international adoption. These countries are Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, France, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland, United States of America, United Kingdom, Germany and Canada.