Kaduna State governor three-day ultimatum handed down to the Kaduna State to beggars in Kaguna state expires on Wednesday. Governor Nasir El-Rufai has insisted that the ban on begging and hawking are still in force in the state.
The governor noted that the insterest of a group, who think they could eke a living through begging, could not override the security of over eight million residents of the state.
Last Saturday, the destitute protested against the ban on begging and hawking in state, threatening to sue the el-Rufai-led government for infringing on their fundamental human rights to movement.
Although, there was an indication on Tuesday during the governor’s visit to the Kano Road beggars’ colony and the Kaduna State Rehabilitation Centre that the beggars had agreed to go off the streets, el-Rufai made it clear that beggars must leave the streets to acquire profitable skills.
The governor explained that the government had made arrangements to ensure that beggars in the state were not removed from the streets but to be trained in various skills to better their future.
According to the governor, begging is not a profession but humiliating, adding that government will train beggars and empower them to fend for themselves.
At the Kano road beggars colony, the beggars made a U-turn on their threat to sue the government after the governor promised to donate a parcel of land to them.
Speaking at the 500-seat capacity state owned rehabilitation centre at Kakuri, Kaduna South Local Government Area, the governor said the centre would soon be ready for the training of the beggars.
He, however, said there was no plan by government to repatriate beggars to their state of origin, noting that all that resided in the state were indigenes of the state.
El-Rufai stated, “We had to take an unprecedented decision to ban beggars in Kaduna State because of the security threat that some of the beggars and hawkers pose to the rest of the populace.
“Having taken the decision, we have to find ways and means to rehabilitate these people by training them to have a skill and then assist them in terms of finance to start their own business.
“Our visit here reveals that our rehabilitation centre needs rehabilitation. The facilities are in a state of disrepair.
“We think the overriding need to secure the lives and property of the over eight million people that live in Kaduna State is superior to that of those that think they have a right to beg.
“Begging is not a profession; begging is humiliation. We don’t believe in it. There is no going back on the ban on street begging, but we are not going to repatriate anybody. The problem is here and we will solve it here.
“We want to empower our people so that they don’t beg and that is what we are working on as a government.”
Head of the beggars in the state, Abdullahi Samaila, hailed the governor for visiting them, pledging their loyalty and their readiness tocooperate with the state government.