The Niger government says it is collaborating with the Bank of Industry (BOI), to train 5,000 physically challenged beggars in arts and crafts,
Mr Emmanuel Zhiri, Executive Director, Niger State Council for Arts and Culture, told journalists , in Minna on Friday, that the idea was to get them engaged and discourage them from begging.
“Arrangements have been completed for the training. We have just completed a three-week trainers’ workshop,” Zhiri said.
He said that the measure would put the “professional beggars” off the streets and enable them fend for themselves.
“They beg because they do not have any source of livelihood to make ends meet. So this is a way of empowering them to meet their needs and become useful in the society,’’ he said.
The director said that the beneficiaries were drawn from the 25 local government areas and would be trained in the weaving of mats and baskets, as well as the production of industrial ropes for packaging.
“The trainees will also be trained in the making of modern ceramics and glass works,” he said.
The Council recently disclosed that the BoI had earmarked N1.7 billion for the development of modern arts and craft in the state, to boost its tourism sector.