‘There’s no going back’ – Ajimobi
Beggars in Ibadan, Oyo state, ENCOMIUM Weekly was informed, took to the streets days back against Oyo Governor, Abiola Ajimobi’s move to outlaw street begging in the state.
According to the source, the beggars, majority of whom were northerners, barricaded some major roads in the state capital, protesting against their evacuation from the streets, claiming the act was tantamount to violation of their right as citizens of Nigeria.
“Some beggars in Ibadan protested against the state government’s move to criminalize street begging few days ago. They even caused heavy traffic in Bodija, Mokola and Ojo areas. I learnt their reason for embarking on street begging is lack of alternative means of livelihood.
“Their protest lasted some hours before the police dispersed them. But I don’t think their protest can stop government from going ahead with its decision. I think Governor Ajimobi has realized that some of the beggars that were pursued out of Lagos state have come to settle in Ibadan, therefore constituting nuisance. So, the need for the state to stop them before spreading across the state. Although, we have Yoruba among them, vast majority of them are from the north.”
ENCOMIUM Weekly got across to Governor Ajimobi, via his Senior Special Adviser on media and strategy, Mr. Yomi Olayinka on Wednesday, May 3, 2016 on the issue, but he said was in an executive meeting with governor. He, however, promised to get back to us which he didn’t. We later sent him a text which was not replied till we went to press.
Meanwhile, a couple of weeks ago, Governor Ajimobi reportedly issued a stern warning against street begging in the state, hinting of plans by his administration to criminalize street begging.
This was made known by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Ismael Olalekan during the second General Assembly of the Muslim Ummah of South West of Nigeria (MUSMEN) held recently in Ibadan, Oyo with the theme, “Zakaah and Poverty Alleviation”
According to the statement credited to the governor in one of the dailies, “If Zakaah was carried out as it should, there would be no need for anyone to become a beggar. Some of the beggars were responsible for the crimes perpetrated in the state, and as a result have contributed to the increasing number of criminal activities across the length and breadth of the state; hence the need to criminalize street begging.