The Lagos State government on Wednesday said it had set up a special team to stop street begging and hawking in the state.
The Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Olusegun Dawodu, said this at a news conference in Ikeja, Lagos.
Mr. Dawodu said the Special Team was set up by the Ministry of Youth and Social Development, in conjunction with the Police Command to curb the menace.
“The special team will tackle the menace frontally and would commence operation in the next few days,” he said.
The move comes days after the police raised an alarm over the menace of robbers who disguise as beggars to attack Lagosians.
The commissioner said the task of the team was not only to sanitize the society but also restore the dignity of the hawkers and beggars.
Mr. Dawodu said beggars on the streets and roads constituted considerable nuisance to law-abiding citizens, who were entitled to go about their businesses without any fear or hindrance.
According to him, street begging is a social vice that the government cannot afford to watch attain an uncontrollable level in order not to affect the good plans and programs to transform the state.
“The road to our desired destination of ‘A Greater Lagos’ has, among other man-made obstacles – ‘street begging.’
“Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu will not fold his arms and watch the state become a haven for beggars.
“This has become big business to some groups of people. Our investigation revealed that beggars and hawkers (children and adults) are transported regularly from other parts of the country to Lagos.
“This is with the sole aim of doing this odious ‘business’ that demeans humanity and abuses innocence in the case of children, who are being pushed into this degrading trade,” said the commissioner.
According to him, these people have turned alms begging and hawking into a huge business by collecting returns from beggars and hawkers, who incidentally, sleep under the bridges, motor parks, and uncompleted buildings.