Commissioner Obinabo Picks Up 50 Hawkers, Beggars in Anambra

Commissioner Obinabo

Commissioner Obinabo Picks Up 50 Hawkers, Beggars in Anambra

Over 50 persons hawking and begging were on Wednesday picked up from various parts of Awka, Anambra state capital city and neighbouring cities following a raid by the State ministry of Women and Social Welfare enforcement team.

Among those picked up during the exercise led by the State Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare, Hon Ify Obinabo, were underaged children used for hawking, elderly persons who have made begging their profession, as well as persons with disabilities, who also beg at strategic places in the capital city.

Also picked up were three persons who claimed to be blind but were reported by shop owners around their location, to be okay and not having any problem with their sight, as well as a masquerade which harassed operatives of government.

The persons picked up were taken to the Ministry’s office at the Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre, Awka, where they were profiled and are kept for further action.

Our correspondent gathered that about 80 percent of the arrested persons were persons from other states especially from the Northern part of the country, who came to Anambra for the purpose of begging.

Speaking to newsmen after the exercise, the Women and Social Welfare Commissioner, Obinabo explained that the essence of the raid was to sanitize the streets and restore free flow of traffic as well as to rescue out-of-school children from being used for such harmful purposes.

This she said, is in line with efforts towards achieving Governor Charles Soludo’s vision for a clean, liveable, green and prosperous megacity agenda.

Obinabo regretted that the case of out-of-school children hawking in Awka and environs has grown to an alarming rate while there are also cases of child labour and exploitations which contravenes the Child’s Rights Law.

“The present administration of Governor Soludo has zero tolerance for child labour of any form and the Anambra State Government is leaving no stones unturned in her effort towards ensuring that any child engaging in any form of street hawking during official school hours would be apprehended and sent back to school,” she said.

On the menace of beggars, Obinabo regretted that majority of them who are not from Anambra State, have seen the state as a place they can do anything and get away with it.

She noted that some of the beggars picked up will be redeployed to their various states, while those from the state who are interested, will be exposed to skills acquisition programmes for self-sustainability.

“For the children who are either hawking or begging, we would invite their parents to understand why they re out of school. We will ensure that they go back to school and for the parents, we may se how to support them to be economically viable,” she promised.

Obinabo warned parents and guardians to be wary of actions and inactions that promotes such act, saying the present administration is poised to nip the act in the bud.

Some of the beggars, Uju Obiea, Ifeoma Chukwu and Afam Okeke said that the quest to source for daily living, little or no financial assistance and lack of skilled labour were responsible for their actions.

They promised to quit alms begging if their children are enrolled into schools and they get a good source of livelihood.

Some residents and business operators in Awka who spoke to our correspondent including, Tochukwu Anigbogu and Ernest Chukwura, eulogized the Ministry and the State Government for its efforts in restoring sanity in Awka by raiding the street of beggars and child hawkers.

They urged them not to relent in their quest towards restoring order and protecting the future of the children.

They also stressed the need for parents to be conscious of the need to give their children the best education and training possible, reminding them that if they grow into responsible well-meaning citizens tomorrow, they will be the ultimate beneficiaries.

Our correspondent gathered that the persons piked were quartered at the Ministry and their immediate needs provided for, while long term plans were being made.

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