The Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr. Mobolaji Ogunlende has stated that the Lagos State Government will not tolerate street begging in any part of the State. 

He disclosed this during the “Special Rescue Operations”, organised by the Ministry in collaboration with the Lagos State Task Force to sanitise the State of street begging in Lekki axis on Thursday.

“The act of begging or using babies to solicit for alms is not part of our religion or culture. It doesn’t support the socio-economic growth of any state. It is counterproductive because some of the so-called beggars have been discovered to be involved in criminality”, he said. 

Ogunlende further said that before embarking on resuscitating the “Special Rescue Operations”, primarily aimed at enforcing the relevant sections of the State Government Laws as well as the Child Rights Law banning begging, the Ministry had carried out massive advocacy and sensitisation to help Lagosians, especially the public-spirited ones, to know what to do concerning helping the less privileged in the State, adding that street begging has been banned in Kano, Kaduna and other states in Nigeria. So why not in Lagos?

“We advise those who want to help the less-privileged amongst us to take their gift items, be it cash or materials to our Homes or Centres designated to help the needy”, Ogunlende added.

Also speaking on the “Special Rescue Operations”, the Permanent Secretary, Pharm (Mrs.) Toyin Oke-Osanyintolu said the Ministry decided to embark on the exercise following a series of reports from Lagosians who complained of being incessantly harassed by street beggars.

In her words, “Series of reports reaching the Ministry from Lagosians bordering on being harassed by beggars on the street prompted us to embark on this exercise to sanitise the State. Every Lagosian irrespective of religion or tribe deserves a safe environment to live, work, or do business without molestation. This, we will achieve by showing zero tolerance for street begging”.

Oke-Osanyintolu said people in the habit of using babies to solicit for alms must desist from such acts and engage in legitimate business. She further stated that those apprehended during the exercise would be prosecuted. 

On his part, CSP Shola Jejeloye, who led the Lagos State Task Force operatives during the “Special Rescue Operations”, said the task of ridding Lagos State of street begging is a task that must be accomplished.  It is going to be a continuous exercise that would be carried out in broad daylight for Lagosians to get the message that there is no room for street begging in the State. 

“It is part of our statutory responsibilities to support the enforcement of any law enacted by the State House of Assembly for the good of everyone. We are ready to collaborate with every agency of government in this regard”, he added.