August 21, 2011 – 90 Beggars Went Missing in Enugu Rehabilitation Ce
Commissioner for Gender Affairs and Social Welfare in Enugu State, Ndidi Chukwu said that no fewer than 90 beggars undergoing rehabilitation have escaped from the state’s rehabilitation centre.
The beggars, according to her, pulled down the door and fences around the centre, while making their escape on Friday.
Chukwu condemned the action of the destitute persons saying; “Those people we call beggars are not really destitute, they are professional beggars who do not suffer any handicap.
“We have discovered that out of about 100 per cent of the destitute you see on the streets of Enugu, only about one per cent are destitute, the rest 99 per cent are professional beggars.”
The gender affairs commissioner blamed the escape on some able-bodied individuals who exploit the conditions of the state’s beggars to make a living themselves.
“The professional beggars hired the destitute and other peoples’ children to be their guide for a day and after using them to make money, they would give them little percentage of their taking,” she said. “They were the ones who broke our rehabilitation centre doors, windows and fences and jumped through the wall and back to the streets the next morning to resume begging.
“We don’t have problem with the mentally challenged people because if you keep them inside the rehabilitation centre, they will remain there but those professional beggars will run back to the street.
“The professional beggars are not suffering from anything, their hands and legs are good, they are just begging because of societal challenges.
“The society in itself is encouraging the professional beggar because you will see some people throwing a bundle of money at them.”
The commissioner said the beggars were always on the streets because they made money more than some university graduates who were working. She said that some made as much as N30, 000 a day.
“We would have arrested them long ago but because of the human face of our governor, he would not want us to do something harsh to them,” Chukwu said.
She raised alarm at the growing rate of beggars in Enugu and called on members of the society to stop giving them alms. This, she said, would reduce the number of destitute in the states