Nigeria: Ban On Street Begging: Beggars Threaten To Bring Down Governor El-Rufai

By Longtong Ibrahim

Kaduna (Nigeria) – A group of Beggars in Kaduna, northwest Nigeria, Monday threatened to bring down the administration of Governor Nasir El-Rufai for his decision to evacuate them from the street.

The beggars stormed the premises of Nigerian Union of Journalists, saying, they had used proceeds from begging to help enthrone El Rufai to power, but after ascension, the Governor is turning his back on them.

Addressing journalists, the beggars under the aegis of Kaduna State Beggars Association regretted voting El-Rufai for his decision on stopping them from having a means of livelihood without providing any alternative to them.

Spokesperson of the group, Yahaya Makaho, a visually impaired, narrated how he personally used his proceeds to campaign and mobilized support for El-Rufai in the April guber election, adding that others in the group had contributed and sacrificed in same manner.

He added that, “We decided to support El Rufai, because we were tired of the former Governor, who did not show any concern for our survival. We worked hard, spent money and prayed, God heard our cries and brought down Yero.

“Now, it would appear that we made a mistake. The new governor wants to bring us down by chasing us out of the street without providing any alternative for a means of survival.

He pointed out that some of them are the breadwinners of their families, but incapacitated, hence their reason to go out to beg.

“We are asking the governor to reverse his decision now, or find ways to meet our basic needs.

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“If he refuses to heed to this demand, we shall make sure we bring down his government. We are not going to pray for him to die, nor he should be impeached, because we voted him to power, but we shall hand him over to the Almighty God, just the same way He removed the former person,” he added.

Two weeks ago, Northern Blind Forum suspended a plan legal action against Kaduna State Government for allegedly linking persons with disabilities in the state to the terrorists group, Boko Haram.

Publicity Secretary of the Forum, Muntari Sale told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that Kaduna State Government had appealed to it to suspend the plan and engage in dialogue to address the matter.

Sale said the State government had pledged to address the challenges facing the group in the State.

NAN quoted Saleh saying “If by Tuesday, July 21, the Kaduna state government fails to stop the arrest of people with disabilities, our members from the 19 northern states will stage a massive protest in Kaduna to enforce our fundamental right of freedom of movement.

“We are not going to allow the discriminatory actions of the government to continue,” the forum’s spokesman said.

Kaduna State Government had after the July 7 Zaria suicide bomb attack announced total ban on street hawking and begging, as part of its enhanced security measures.

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