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We will quit begging if empowered, beggars tell government

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Some beggars on the street

The Arewa Freedom of Blind Association of Nigeria (AFBN) at the weekend said their members are ready to quit begging on Kaduna streets only if the state government would empower them to be gainfully employed, since many of them are educated.

The plea by the beggars to be absorbed into the government’s workforce was made at Ungwan Rimi, Darika Mosque. They also said some members of the association have learnt one or two crafts and would only require grants for business startup.

One of the physically challenged persons, Mallam Muhammad Usman, who spoke to The Guardian, said: “We came to this place in order to pray to God to help Kaduna State government to have the interest of vulnerable people in mind. I don’t know why the state government holds us in high disdain. Anytime we go on the street either to beg or for something else, the next thing you will see are three to four buses, whisking us away.

“This is why I am calling on the state government to remember the time we stood in the rain and sun to elect them into office. If they don’t want street begging, they should help our people, because among us here, we have degree holders, secondary school leavers and diploma holder.”

In his remarks, the Public Relations Officer of the association, Mallam Muktar Salleh, lamented the constant harassment of beggars and destitute citizens in the state, which he condemned as inhumane.

“Recently in Kano, a man came and agreed to pay the fine for any one charged to court for begging on the street. Upon realizing this, the Kano State government quickly changed the penalty; saying that whoever is found begging on the street will henceforth receive 30 lashes of cane. That is not the solution, governments at all level must have human face to their policies,” he said.

He added that the body decided to embark on the prayer session as an alternative to confronting the state government, by praying for God to make the government change its hostile attitude to their members.

“We are calling on the government to fear God, because no condition is permanent. Even those who call for our evacuation today can fall into the same position we find ourselves tomorrow,” he said.


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