By Ayobami Agboola, Osogbo
Recent findings by CityMirrorNews revealed that there is growing concern about the number of beggars on the streets of Osun.
CityMirrowNews discovered that, in Osogbo, the state capital, there had been an alarming increase in the numbers of street begging in other notable towns like Ikirun, Iwo, Ede, Ile-Ife, Ilesa and others.
Apart from the northern children popularly known as “the Almajiri”, who are known for begging, findings further revealed that, the majority of the street beggars in the state are Yoruba men and women.
Children between the ages of six and ten had also gained pleasure in the street begging business.
Some residents who spoke with CityMirrowNews Correspondent said,the development might be connected with the already established begging norms in the society now, adding that many prefer begging to taking up of menial jobs.
Some also attributed the situation to the high rate of unemployment among the younger ones while some believe it’s one of the adverse effects of the Coronavirus pandemic and lack of good governance.
Our Correspondent who visited different locations of beggars around UBA Bank along Obafemi Awolowo Road Olonkoro Area, MDS station road, Olaiya junction, Old Garage and Ayetoro/Igbona, all in the Osogbo metropolis, observed that children between the ages of five, seven and 10 years, including some adults, particularly women, were moving around these locations begging for alms.
Similarly, CityMirrorNews also gathered that some teenage girls and middle aged women, between the hours of 9am to 5pm, go round areas where most banks are located in Osogbo to beg for alms.
It was also discovered that the beggars hang around the streets and areas where the banks are located, waiting for customers going in and out and at the ATM centres, to beg for money.
CityMirrowNews correspondent, however, observed that few individuals going in and out of the bank premises, to transact business, either extend alms to the beggars or ignored them.
Some old women and men who are also into the business of begging were also spotted at entrances of notable food canteens in Osogbo, begging from individuals who came to have their meals.
Other centres always visited by these beggars included churches, mosques , motor parks and bus stops .
It was, however, very difficult for any person who wanted to give these beggars money or render assistance to figure out whether the stories being told by them are real or a ruse.
Speaking on these development , Reverend Sileola Akinwumi of Instruction of Christ Bible Church,(ICBC), Ilesa Garage area, Osogbo attributed the rampant street begging to the present hardship being faced in Osun, in Nigeria and across the globe .
Akinkunmi said though, some of these beggars are very deceitful but as a pastor whenever they come to church for begging, there is nothing wrong in helping them because it’s biblically, and because believers believe that givers never lack.
“There are some people that are in need of financial assistance in our environment and there is nothing wrong in assisting them.
“There are some people that can not pay for their children School fees , there are some who find it so difficult to feed themselves and an idle mind is a devil workshop.
“Roaming around to beg under the guise of having problem without having a problem is a crime to God and to humanity.
“There is a blind man in Osogbo that has two three bedroom flats and four shops at the front of his house, he lent out one flat and all the shops but the man has dedicated himself to begging.
“Even some people do beg for money to use the money against the person that gave them for rituals that is why some people don’t help again because they think they are all fake beggars.
“Our government has a lot to do because Nigeria is a blessed country than what we are facing now.
“Parents do spend huge amount of money on their children while in school believing that immediately after their graduation, they would get employment but it’s quite unfortunate that reverse is the case .
“There are some intelligent beggars that when they see you it’s easy for them to study you and know the caliber of person you are, this is because they are educated, they know you, they have psychology, they can study you within a minute.
“Most civil servants and salary earners are finding it difficult to purchase a bag of rice and they have children to cater for but they are financially incapacitated , so they have no option than to indulge in such a ridiculous act.
“There is no tangible things in town that government can point to as achievements that could benefit every citizens.” he said
An Islamic Scholar, Alfa Muideen Ayolo decried the alarming increase in the number of the street beggars in Osogbo and some other town in the state.
Alfa Ayolo who is the Chief Imam of Anuoluwapo Mosque, Mantanmi 4, Oke Baale area, Osogbo confirmed the report saying hardly would it be a day that they would not receive a beggar in their mosque.
He said: “At the mosque I am presiding over, hardly would it be a day that we would not receive a beggars for financial assistance.
“When they arrived, they gave various reasons. Some will say, they need money to feed themselves because they loose their job, some will say they came to Osogbo to meet someone but couldn’t reach him, some would claim they need transport fare to go back to where they come from but most common tricks they do use is that they need financial help for medical reasons.
He noted that the some of those beggars do apply same tactics in many mosques they visit.
He further said that “Our religious organization and NGO should increase their Societal aids to people and religious leaders should increase the volume of their lecture on the consequences of lie or being deceitful to get money.
A provision seller at popular Olaiya junction Osogbo, who simply identified herself as Mrs Adetoye, said the act of begging for money is now rampant in the state, especially in Osogbo.
Mrs Adetoye said in a day, she received not less than six street beggars at her shop, saying this is becoming embarrassing for the state and the country as a whole
“After Covid-19 pandemic,another woman with two children came around this Olaiya also to come and beg for money,I do give her money but there was a day I sat her down and told her to be helping me to fetch water and also to wash plastic bottle that I used for the Soya Milk drink I am selling with my provisions, that I will be giving her money for the service so she can stop begging.
“Since that time,she stopped coming to me to beg but I still see her around this Olaiya with two of her children begging.
Mrs Adetoye begged state government to pick these beggars out of the streets.
“Our government should help us pick them out of the streets so we can have peace of mind because they are too much and the kind of prayers they say, you will be forced to give them something.
“If the government remove them and put them in one place to asked for their various problems and give them appropriate help, like giving them food, money, employment and what they can be doing as a means of survival so they can stop begging.
A commercial vehicle driver, Alhaji Lawal Obalola who frowned at the spate of beggars in their motor parks said,if not checkmated, it may lead to beggars-Pandemic, calling on the state government to do something quickly to end the menace.
“My brother, Osun state may become the centre of Beggar-pandemic if the street begging is not checkmated.
“In our motor parks here , at times we do chase them away, because of their intimidating numbers.
“When we were young , in those days , only Hausa Almajiri were indulging in this act, Yoruba didn’t at all but because of the worrisome economic situation, Yoruba who are known for pride, dignity and who always shy away from dirty jobs have now seen begging as a lucrative job, it is very unfortunate, he said
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