Africa

Nigeria: Beggars, Hawkers Invade Abuja City

beggersBarely four weeks after the FCT Minister criticized over 400 senior from Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), Directorate of Road Traffic Services (DRTS), FCT Social Development Secretariat over the deteriorating environmental situation in the Abuja city, beggars and hawkers are still seen on the streets.

Our reporters, who went round the city centre, noticed that beggars and hawkers normally storm the streets in large numbers after the close of work.

A fat beggar at Arab Contractors junction was seen recently exposing his chest and moving from vehicle to vehicle in search of alms.

In some cases, hawkers put their wares into corporate bags immediately they sight vans of the FCT Social Development Secretariat and stand by roadsides pretending to be commuters.

At Wuse Market, beggars including those with different ailments were seen moving about begging for alms and displaying their injuries, while their accomplice spoke through megaphones for support.

Women wearing dark glasses to show blindness had underage children taking them about and appealing to people to give out alms.

On Saturday, a mild drama unfolded at Utako Market when one of such beggars (popularly called Mama Ade) was seen quarreling with her girl for collecting N10 as alms.

According to a witness, Mrs. Dorothy Kehinde, the daughter who sings while begging for alms came to Fidel’s shop and was given N10 and immediately the mother slapped and scolded her in Igbo language, which attracted other traders, who wondered how she saw the money.

“Traders surrounded the beggar and she confessed that her husband died five years ago, while she went into begging because her in-laws have been maltreating her,” the witness said.

She said the beggar comes from Mararaba everyday to the city centre to beg and has five children to fend for, adding that she gets N2,000.

Mr. Fidel of STC 105 Utako Market, said thus: “This is not the first time we are witnessing this because if government is providing for the less privilege, this woman will not come and pretend she is blind. She is very greedy and that was why God exposed her this afternoon,” he added.

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