Laleye Dipo in Minna
Niger State Government has announced a total ban on street begging effective from March 4, but said the ban did not affect the “Almajiri system of education.”
The Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Mohammed Sani Idris, who made this known while addressing newsmen in Minna, said the state executive council which met on Wednesday approved the decision “with immediate effect.”
Idris said a committee has been set up to fine tune the modalities for the implementation of the policy to ensure that it does not fail like previous arrangements.
The commissioner added that anyone caught begging “either on the streets or elsewhere” would be arrested and prosecuted in line with existing laws, adding that street beggars found not to be indigenes of the state would also be arrested and transported to their states of origin.
“We are putting in place a lifetime structure that will stand the test of time. Street begging is a menace that we should all join hands to stop. Those who are not from Niger State will be evacuated and taken to their states. “We will collaborate with other states to ensure the success of the policy. We now have the political will to ensure the policy is implemented to the letter,” Idris said.
The commissioner, however, added that government has not outlawed the “Almajiri system of education,” but warned that “any Almajiri found begging will be arrested,” noting that 80 per cent of Almajiris roaming the streets of the state are not from Niger State.
“We are not banning Almajiri of education but they (almajiri) must not go on the street for begging any longer,” he explained.
Idris said there’s a synergy among governors in the northern states to put a stop to street begging in whatever form because of the inherent dangers in the practice.
In his contribution, Niger State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Nasara
Danmalan, said the state could not be a dumping ground for beggars because of the ban on street begging in other northern states.
He pointed there that there’s now an influx of beggars to the state since the ban in other states.
“It is something we must do to keep the state safe and to keep everyone in the state safe,” he said.