Ibadan: City teeming with beggars
In Ibadan, the capital of Oyo state, street begging has become a commonplace especially in some notable neighbourhoods like Iwo road, Gate, Bus stop, Mokola, and Sabo, CAMPUS REPORTER’s investigation shows.
The beggars go about using various approaches from seeking assistance for travel fare because they stranded to needing support for food. They are everywhere.
It was discovered that not only people with disabilities alone beg in the streets anymore, but also people who suffer no disability, including young children who are supposed to be in school and nursing mothers.
Sorrowful Iya Ibeji
Iya Ibeji as she is popularly called is a notable beggar who is always going around with his twins so that people would take pity on them and she would be given the money. When she was asked about how she started and why she was into begging, she said “I did not want to live my life like this but since there is no one to help me with finances. Look at me, apart from these twins that I carry around to beg with, I have three other children who I must feed and since I cannot steal and there is no one to help me, I have to do what I know is legit.”
She lamented her husband is late.
According to a trader in Iwo road who identified herself as Tawakalit, “the begging is a common thing here, in fact, the beggars are always sleeping under the bridge, some without any hitch although they are always disturbing us too for money while before for food.”
At Gate/ Bus stop
Gate / Bus stop in Ibadan is another capital of beggars, who harass people for alms.
Many of them would not agree to be interviewed. However, an old woman who identified herself as Iya Iwo said “It wasn’t my wish to engage in begging but two of my children were taken away due to the debt they are owing. So because of that, I am looking for money to free them. Apart from that, these my children used to be the ones feeding me but since they are not around, I need to eat and keep some money to get them out.”
Aishat, a teen Hausa girl, was also seen begging around Gate in the scorching sun. When she was questioned about why she is into the activity she said “I do this to get money to eat, since there is no one to give me, then I beg
“I was brought here by my parents some years back but they have left and since then I have been doing this, I sleep anywhere in the night just to survive,” she said.
The reaction of the government
In 2013, Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi declared war against street begging in the state.
“Government would remove all beggars along the streets in the metropolis,” the governor then said. “More so, Government would empower them with all the means of livelihood to enable them to contribute to the development of society.”
However, there has not been any recognisable fulfilment of the governor’s vows.
“The government has started to evacuate the beggars as we are working hands in hands with the ministry of women affairs and we are trying to talk people against begging, for example, we have evacuated beggars from Sabo precisely,” said the spokesperson for the ministry of environment.
Nothing came of the efforts to interview the commissioner for women affairs in the state.