Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
The Federal Capital Territory Administration FCTA has disclosed of its resolve to evacuate 1,000 beggars and destitute within the shortest possible time from the nation’s capital city.
Already, the administration at the weekendevacuated no fewer than 150 beggars and destitute from the major streets of Abuja, for allegedly constituting nuisance and disturbing the peace in the city.
Minister of State in the FCT, Dr Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu who sanctioned the exercise, noted that the administration would not rest until the city is made unattractive to to those bent on flouting its laws.
The evacuation of the beggars mainly women and children including old men was carried out at the weekend by officials of the Social Development Secretariat (SDS) in collaboration with the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), Directorate of Road Traffic Services, FCT Security Department and office of the Senior Special Assistant to the FCT Minister on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement.
This was on the heels of FCTA’s renewed clampdown on street begging in the nation’s capital, following receipt of complaints about the menace.
The team picked up beggars from streets having shopping malls, supermarkets, Mosques and other notorious spots within highbrow Maitama, Wuse II, Garki and other areas of the city.
After profiling them, they were later given Iftar meal to break their Ramadan fast in the evening, by the FCT Administration.
The Secretary Social Development Secretariat (SDS), Hadiza Mohammed Kabir, who revealed that the FCTA is targeting to evacuate between 400 to 1,000 beggars from the city, said the FCT Minister of State had embarked on removing beggars from the streets.
She added that by the time they finished evacuating beggars and camping them in designated centres within the territory for proper documentation, the Minister will liaise with all the governors of their states of origin, and thereafter, they will be repatriated to their respective states.
“As you are seeing today, the Minister has just sent a strong and sound warning through me as the leader of this team to them that they should go off the streets, because we are coming out massively for them.
“The minister has already sent them food and drinks to eat and break fast in the evening, but we are coming for them if they don’t leave the streets and stop begging on the streets of Abuja”, the SDS boss reaffirmed.
The secretary also announced a ministerial pardon for those evacuated during the weekend with a strong warning that they should not return to the streets.
Similarly, the Senior Special Assistant to FCT Minister, on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement, Attah Ikharo, noted that what the FCTA did was to evacuate the beggars from the streets and take them to a safe place, profile and ensure that they are well catered for and subsequently repatriated.
He said: “During the month of Ramadan where most of our Muslim brothers and sisters are devoting themselves to the service of Almighty Allah, we saw many beggars who have come from across the country flooding into FCT. So, we had to move them off the streets, sensitive areas where they gather in large numbers to beg for alms, and in the process they disturb people, and the complaints came in, and we moved in and cleared them in a friendly manner that most of them were very happy about.
“We are promising that we will take
them back to their respective states, so that they will actually leave the streets. But with the pardon by the Honourable Minister of State it is now left for them to vacate the streets.”