Increment in poverty rate which has resulted from the difficult times that many businesses and jobs have run into as a result of coronavirus global pandemic, while laziness of some individuals and lack of proper orientation are the major causes for the increase in the rate of street begging in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, recent findings revealed through VoiceAirMedia.
Few months ago, before the arrival of the deadly Coronavirus pandemic in Osun state and Nigeria, our correspondent embarked on a community tour in Osogbo metropolis who visited Olonkoro, Ogooluwa, MDS, Fakunle area and station road observed some children between age 5 and 10, including some adults women where moving around begging for alms between the hours of 9am and 5pm.
Our source gathered that the beggars wander the streets of the banks, waiting for customers going in and out at the ATM centres, to beg other residents who visited to withdraw for money.
Our source gathered that some of these teenage girls communicate in Hausa dialect to beg for money to ‘chop’. Some individuals going in and out of the bank either to withdraw or pay in money extend alms to them while some ignored them.
Following the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic which has propelled both the Federal and Osun state Government to lockdown many places including markets in some weeks back has spread those beggers who normally make use of their joint away to unknown destinations loitering around the state which add to the alarming rate of street begging in the capital city of Osun due to the hardship brought by the virus.
Recall that the Osun State Government had earlier threatened to enforce a fresh lockdown as a result of increase in number of Covid-19 patients recorded in recent times within the state.
While speaking with our correspondent, Mr Tunji, a cocacola staff, attributed the rampant street begging to the present hardship being faced in Osun, across the globe and particularly in Nigeria.
He said, ”In our state here, the situation is getting worrisome, because our children are at home due to the outbreak of Coronavirus, while economic, social and commercial activities are paralysed. Many parents cannot cater for their children anymore and most children have resorted to begging as a means to feed themselves.
“I must tell you that if we return the state or country back to lockdown without the government cushioning the effects, begging will become worst to the extent of constituting nuisance.”
Also speaking, David Johnson, a business man said street begging is much in Osogbo, especially around Odi-olowo where you see adults begging for money. Saying. “no amount is too small, any money you give them, they will be happy.”
A Human right activist, Comrade Tunde Olorungbotemi One Class, said street begging is a fall-out of the compulsory lockdown. He stated that, “businesses are not moving, nothing is working for us in Nigeria, so people chose the alternative means of looking for food to eat, which is begging.
“Have you heard of cooperate baggers? Someone who dress cooperately for the sake of begging. Some of those beggars are ‘Corporate beggars’.”
Olorungbotemi called on the Federal and State governments to come to the aids of the citizen by taking the Welfarism of people as their first priority and work towards putting an end to the community transmission of COVID-19 at all cost.
As a result of increment in the Coronavirus infection in Osun State, VoiceAirMedia Correspondent speaks with the Commissioner for Women and Children Affairs, Bukola Olaboopo who said that her office is not aware of the increase in street begging, adding that the government will sensitize both parents and children as government is planning to embark on street raiding to curb such act in the state.