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Growing begging community of Ikeja

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Growing begging community of Ikeja

 

There are beggars and there are beggars. Indeed, there are different types of beggars, there are the physically challenged, medically challenged and the corporate types. Depending on their spec, shape and wants, the society tolerates them with their numerous packages. The adage that a ‘beggar has no choice’, seems not applicable to these set of beggars.

 

The above-mentioned categories of beggars are residents of all corners of Ikeja, capital of Lagos. Despite the fact that the Lagos state government is making frantic effort in asserting its intention of making the state a true mega city, it seems to be blind towards the beggar’s world fast spreading with its many nuisances in Ikeja.

 

The medically challenged beggars are the most notorious category of beggars in Ikeja. They are scattered under the Ikeja bridge, around the road median and in front of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital,(LASUTH) displaying various medical conditions or hospital bills in order to get help monetarily to complete their health bills or to survive through their health challenges. They craved for sympathy by pleading to the sentiment of passersby. Some of them would display parts of their injuries, ailments that could be disgusting and offensive to sensibilities of passersby. One of them, Emmanuel Nsima,12-years old boy whose left hand is extremely large and longer than his other hand and his body. Nsima who was reluctant to talk, told New Telegraph that he needed money to enable him carry out the required surgery for his hand and for feeding. He said since his parents abandoned him in the hospital and the hospital neglected him because he was not able to carry on with his medical consumption bills, he opted to begging for survival.

Most notorious among those with medical conditions are the mentally deranged, they tap vehicle windows, to command attention to themselves. They move with vehicles on motion, adamant to get something out of the occupant of whichever vehicle they hook unto. Some resort to insulting when they are chased away.

 

The physically challenged are the conventional group of beggars and are grateful for as low as a token of N5 given to them. These ones most times have permanent locations and when night falls they carry their mats and retire for the day.
Another category is the corporate beggars. They are different from the physically and medically challenged beggars. The difference range from their mode of dressing and they dictate the amount given to them from passers-by. Some of them even claim to be university graduates or literates. They are mostly found along Ikeja Medical Road,Lagos.

 

In a chat with one of the corporate beggars, Ibrahim Abubakar, 28 years old who claimed to be a graduate of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, he demanded for N100 to enable him feed for that afternoon. He claimed that he has not had food since the previous day. Contrary to his hunger claim, he smelled heavily of alcohol, all through the conversation. But he attributed the smell to an imported garlic he had consumed earlier in the day. Ibrahim said he graduated six years ago and has been unable to secure a job. He said he had tried several menial jobs but not meeting his demands, so he decided to add begging to it and dictate the amount given to him. “I know I am not supposed to be begging but the economic situation of the country forced me to do it and that is why I don’t take less than N100. On daily basis, I make at least N6,000 from begging alone,” he said. Defiantly, Ibrahim said the begging business is a lucrative job he is not willing to stop any time soon.

 

Belonging also to the corporate beggars group is one woman simply known as Madam Chinyere from Anambra state, popularly known for begging along the Ikeja axis. Chinyere is an aged woman of average height and fair in complexion. She has become a constant face along Ikeja Medical road always begging passersby for money to feed. From a distant observation, Madam Chinyere to most passersby as they were warm towards, some even called her attention to give her money. A newspaper vendor Moses, complained bitterly that this woman uses the money to smoke all manner of hard drugs as she is a known to be a chain smoker. Moses further whined that the hard earned money of the passersby end up in wraps of cigarette and several alcoholic drinks. “Most of these beggars use the money they piteously collected from the people on meaningless things and that is why they keep begging for more,” Moses said. For someone like Madam Chinyere who used to be a woman of high status but her love for smoking and drinking made her end up in professional begging for alms and this and more is the case of other corporate beggars.
As New Telegraph observed, these group of beggars are to some extent good looking, but their major reasons often is that the money was used to add to their transportation fares. They are usually seen to be collectively requesting for the same amount of money from passersby-N100. Another set of beggars were seen on other side of the road, they numbered about 13 and most in their adolescent age except for an aged man among them, they were looking well-dressed but still demanding a certain amount of money from people-N200. Surprisingly, passersby did not mind their good look and well fed appearance, they still gave them money.

 

For these set of beggars, they are exception to the adage of ‘beggars have no choice.’

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