By Monsuru Olowoopejo
In spite of Lagos state Government’s effort to end street begging, more beggars still troop into the state daily. This compelled the government to intensify its raid, leading to the evacuation of 260 beggars from the streets in the last 100 days.
This was contained in a document made available by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Aderemi Ibirogba at the 2,800 days celebration of the Governor Babatunde Fashola’s administration held in Agidingbi, Ikeja.
In 2013, the state faced fierce public outrage over alleged forced expulsion of some Igbo indigenes from its territory.
Last year, not minding the consequence of its action, the government rescued 2, 217 beggars from the streets in the state. And it returned 458 destitutes to other states of the federation through their relations, who were residents in the state.
Vanguard gathered that the rescue operation was carried out through the Office of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Youths and Social Development. Most of the affected people were sent to rehabilitation centres.
The document said the office evacuated 260 beggars/destitute from the streets during the 100 days under review.”
It added that 22 destitutes rescued earlier from the streets are currently undergoing training at the rehabilitation centre, in Majidun, Ikorodu while five children rescued from the streets have been sent to schools after completing their rehabilitation exercise. After treatment, the government offered shelter to six students who were victims of sexual abuse even as those who abused them undergo prosecution.
The former Special Adviser to Governor on Youth & Social Development, Dr. Enitan Badru earlier disclosed that rescue of beggars from the streets of Lagos is “a continuous exercise.”
….Courts sentence 483 offenders to community service
Also in the document, the State Government said no fewer than 483 offenders were sentenced to various terms of community service across the 12 magisterial districts in the state in the last 100 days.
It added that N66.6 million was paid as death benefits to families of civil servants who died in active service.
The statement stated that this was part of the non-custodial sentences introduced by the state government to decongest the prisons, as enshrined Administration of Criminal Justice Law, ACJL 2011.
It explained that through the community service, which requires offenders to do some community work, the state government has succeeded in de-congesting the prison system without compromising the justice administration system.
It added that other non-custodial sentences included in the ACJL 2011 were probation and restitution which were expected to ease prison congestion and minimize the effect of imprisonment on individuals and their families.
The government noted that free legal services were provided for indigent residents of Lagos, saying “10, 084 cases were treated free for Lagosians.”
Breakdown of the statistics revealed that “Citizens Mediation Centre, CMC resolved 7, 766 cases for Lagosians at no cost to the litigants. The Office of Public Defender, OPD treated 1,426 cases and undertook 11 rescue missions during the period under review. Similarly, the Directorate for Citizen’s Right treated 892 human rights cases free.
“Also, these three agencies facilitated the recovery of N229.1 million debts and compensation for residents of Lagos in different matters. While CMC recovered N213.440 million, OPD; N11.062 million and Directorate for Citizen’s Right assisted Lagosians reclaim N4.6 million.”