The government added that it had set up a special team to curb the menace of street begging and hawking across the state.
The Commissioner for the Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Mr Olusegun Dawodu, said this at a joint press conference in Alausa, Ikeja, which was also attended by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotosho, and the state Commissioner for Police, Mr Hakeem Odumosu.
He said, “Street begging is a social vice that we cannot afford to watch attain uncontrollable level before we act. Otherwise, all the good plans to transform our state will be adversely affected; the same goes for street hawking.
“Intelligence reports have revealed that some of the so-called beggars go about with weapons, assault and rob innocent Lagosians. As a government, we cannot afford to let this continue. Thus, a special team has been set up to tackle this menace frontally. The operation of this special team will commence in the next few days.
“The task we are undertaking is not only to sanitise our society, but also to restore the dignity of these people who have been sent to the streets for alms begging and hawking. Therefore, to tackle this menace, the state government through the rehabilitation and child development departments of the Ministry of Youth and Social Development has maintained a rescue unit saddled with the responsibility of rescuing and protecting the destitute and the vulnerable.”
Dawodu stated that many of the beggars and street urchins were transported into the state from other places by some unnamed persons, adding that the beggars constituted environmental nuisance.
“These groups of people have turned alms begging and hawking into a huge business by collecting returns from beggars and hawkers, who sleep under the bridges, motor parks, uncompleted or abandoned buildings and other places not conducive for human habitation.
“The activities of these people on our streets impede human and vehicular movement, constitute environmental nuisance and worst still, constitute security threats.
“In embarking on this enforcement, we will also deploy a lot of human and material resources towards enlightenment and sensitisation via different media platforms.”
Dawodu called on Lagosians to discourage street begging by taking their alms to recognised orphanages and religious organisations where they would be properly utilised.
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