39 beggars in Lagos State were on Monday February 4, brought before the Special Offences Court in Alausa, Ikeja for soliciting alms.
The government said the beggars constituted public nuisance and the suit against the beggars was a renewed drive in the war against begging in the state, adding that any beggar found on the streets of Lagos would be prosecuted.
The Special Offences Court charged them for constituting nuisance in public and sent the beggars to Kirikiri and Badagry Prisons.
The government says it is no longer going to be business as usual for the beggars as offenders will be prosecuted. Some of the count charges against the beggars included conducting themselves as disorderly persons without visible means of livelihood and thus committed an offence under the criminal law of Lagos State.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Youth and Social Development Dolapo Badru defending the state government said they decided to commence the prosecution of beggars because they had exhausted all avenues to take them off the road adding that they have tried to make some of them learn a trade but they don’t want to work.
“Some people believe that if they are unlucky in certain cases, what they need to do is to give alms to beggars so that their fortune can change. A lot of beggars now prey on these people’s superstitious beliefs to get money from them. Many of them pretend to be blind or crippled. They make more money than many employed people.”
The beggars, 39 in number pleaded guilty to the offences and were consequently sent to Prison for one month pending when the final judgment would be delivered by the judge. Nine of them, as a result of their disabilities were rejected by prison officials and were taken to the Lagos State Rehabilitation Home, Majidun, Ikorodu on the outskirts of Lagos.