By Dayo Johnson
Akure—A 30-year-old “blind” widow and mother of five, Chinyere Onuara , who begs for alms, weekend, said she makes an average of N1000 daily.
The lady who pretends to be blind said she intended to start a trade with the daily savings she makes from begging and also to feed her kids following the death of her husband.
Narrating her story after she was arrested in front of a commercial bank and taken to the Ondo State Correctional Home in Akure, Chinyere said she came to the state from Ebonyi State.
She was arrested in front of a commercial bank in Akure, the state capital, where she had been active in her trade of begging before luck ran against her.
Chinyere was reportedly arrested with her 4 year old son, Chidiebere, whose condition Vanguard gathered attracted the attention of the official of the state Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.
Chinyere claimed to have left Ebonyi for Akure few weeks ago to assist a blind friend to collect alms but on getting to the state, discovered that her friend had opted for another trade leaving her stranded.
She said she, thereafter, decided to disguise as a blind beggar in front of a commercial bank in Akure, where she makes at least one thousand naira from unsuspecting members of the public from which she makes daily savings.
She expressed regret over her action and said it was to raise money to start a trade being a widow with five kids in a village in Ebonyi.
According to her, the husband died years back after he was allegedly poisoned.
She appealed to the state government to empower her, rather than punish her, claiming to be homeless, and sleeps in public facility along Ondo road in Akure in company of many other beggars.
The Director of Social Welfare in the Ministry, Sola Aladesuyi, said it was the sight of the blind young woman and the young boy that caught the attention of Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Hon Omowumi Olatunji Edet, who directed officials of the ministry to rescue her and provide help.
Aladesuyi, who led the rescue efforts, said on getting to the bank, they were however shocked to find out that Chinyere was not blind which was why she was immediately taken into custody and kept at the Correctional Home in Akure.
Mr. Aladesuyi described begging with a minor as worrisome and against the Child Rights Law which government would not tolerate under any guise.
He said the ministry will contact her Ebonyi counterpart to verify Chinyere’s claims to be sure she is not a security risk to the state before she is sent back.
He said the ministry is poised to rid the state of beggars whether fake or real.