Street Begging: Jobless or less privileged
Street begging has become a menace in recent times. In fact, in some cities, beggars and the act of begging has become more of a mainstay. However, in a country like Nigeria where we need human and material resources to move the country forward, it is important to examine this; is street begging an act of joblessness or it is just because they are less privileged?
It is true that unemployment has become a menace in Nigeria; able bodied youths who graduate from universities litter the streets, some without gainful employment and some without any employment at all. Clearly, this has owed largely to the fact that the government, over the years, has failed to create enough employment opportunities for Nigerians. On the business scene too, Nigerians who go into business, particularly start-ups find it difficult too because of stringent terms of trade imposed on them by the government. This is why, most times, startups without a strong financial base often times collapse and become moribund. In spite of these, is this a justifiable reason for a person who does not have any disability to go to the streets and begin to beg? Without taking a one-sided view, let us examine begging on the part of the less privileged
On the part of the less privileged, in a country like Nigeria where there are no concrete provisions for people with disabilities and those who are less privileged, most of them resort to begging. Most of them, mostly those who are leprous, victims of accidents who have lost their appendages, some deaf and dumb among other things go on the street and begin to beg for their daily bread. In fact, they have become so skilled in the act that in some places, one can barely open the doors of one’s car to alight without having a beggar or two accosting one to beg for their daily bread. These set of people have become so organized that they have people who they have selected as their heads. Those ones control the way they beg and the amount these beggars collect from others.
Agreeing that these ones who are destitute or less privileged cannot be gainfully employed in the very competitive labor market and the youths have not been afforded the opportunity of getting gainful employment, is it right to beg? Is it a normal thing to see a young man dressed in suits who will accost you and tell you he’s travelling somewhere and he’s forgotten his transport fare., pleading with you to give him money? Or is it right to meet a family man telling you to give him fifty naira to eat? It is absolutely wrong!
In advanced countries, you barely find beggars on the streets. This is because they have made concrete provisions for their citizens. By virtue of this, they cannot have citizens on the streets begging. In fact, those who either decide to be voluntarily employed or do not find gainful employment are put under a social security program in which certain amounts are given to them. By virtue of this, you can never find any beggar on the street. Asides creating a nuisance in the society, begging gives the country a bad image as it makes people to see the country in and light as an irresponsible country who does not care for her citizens.
It is therefore important for the government of Nigeria to rise up to the occasion and create avenues to take the beggars of the street; for those who are less privileged, homes can be created for them in which their needs are going to be catered for. In the case of the ‘corporate beggars’, employment opportunities need to be created for them and in the case of those who don’t want to get employed, they can be put on a salary scale in which they can be earning per month. This way, the country will be seen as one who is sensitive to the plight of its citizens