LAGOS—Hundreds of beggars, yesterday, staged a peaceful protest to the Lagos State House Assembly, Alausa, Ikeja, over their removal from the streets in the state.
President of the Association of Physically-Challenged, Alhaji Jubril Hassan, said the government was wrong to have asked beggars to stay off the streets where they were enjoying their social rights. Hassan also said it was illegal to deny them their fundamental freedom of movement.
Hassan said: “We adopted this medium to express our displeasure and unhappiness with the actions taken and the one to be taken by the Lagos State Government. “Our movement within Lagos metropolis has been restricted such that anyone caught roaming the street is taken to Majidun Rehabilitation Centre.”
He explained that in most cases, all their belongings were seized, while they were also maltreated by the management of the camp. He said: “The condition of the camp is appalling and devastating, it causes more harm to our health. It has come to our notice that very soon anybody found giving us alms will be apprehended and imprisoned for two years.”
He, therefore, appealed to the government to rescind its decision of denying beggars the right to move freely within the state. According to him, the policy will further aggravate their suffering, instead of alleviating it. He called on the media, non-government organisations and human rights activists to come to their aid.
The Secretary of the association, Mr. Zakariwai Hassan, claimed that no fewer than 600 beggars had been arrested by the government without providing adequate alternative for them.
Hassan urged the government to look into their plight and allow them to continue with their daily activities in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria,NAN, reported that the protesters were received by Mr. Babatunde Panox, Special Adviser to Governor Babatunde Fashola on Security as the assemblymen were on recess. He advised them not to take the law into their hands, promising that the government would find solutions to their problems.