Beggars in Lagos… Emotional Blackmailers VS Sincere Needy

Beggars in Lagos

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Okay… so close to my workplace, there is a group of about four girls almost always by the bus-stop during the day. Once the traffic light stops cars, they go in between and beg for alms. They do this risking their lives… one is on clutches as she has got just one leg. And round and round, she’d go limping with the others… begging, tapping windows and doing all that. My heart breaks every time I see her.

Sometimes I am in a fix: to help or not to help.

I was riding with a friend a while back and there was traffic. This little girl came to the driver’s side and kept tapping the window and pointing to the box of tissues in front begging. My friend was confused. I explained to him that she probably thinks its something edible because of the pack. I reached out and brought out some money to give her. I passed it to my friend to give her and he shot me this look …. Anyways, he gave her and off she went. He then explained to me why he doesn’t support giving them money… He said and I agree, these people don’t own themselves. They are working with their parents or some guys who would collect this money for them and give them maybe food in return. Mind you a good number of these adults are not disabled in any way. Only a few are truly in need. He then goes to explain that you think you are helping the child but in reality you are funding those adults. 

That one touched me and this to me is cruelty. I honestly cannot find any other word for it. I mean government education in Lagos is free… yet, these children are being deprived of the basic need of education and are roaming the streets under the rain and the sun.

These children grow up thinking they can ‘beg’ their way through life. Already, some of these children are a menace to the society. I remember one time during NYSC when I was going to Abeokuta from the village where I served. When I got to the park at Ijebu-Ode, this little girl begging for alms, kept following me. At a point, she literally held on to my top! My white NYSC top. I was so livid. I couldn’t get her to leave me alone. She kept chanting, “Hanty na, abeg na… epp me na… please na..
I honestly had no plans to give her any money and I definitely wasn’t going to bulge under her harassment (Yep! That’s what it is).
I got to the cab I was to board; and when this girl finally released her hands, she had stained my white. I wound up the glass and I was just boiling.

Some of these innocent children have become violent and learnt the street life that they shouldn’t have been exposed to at such a tender age. Then talk about the danger they face on these roads every single day! Like a car can just run into them and that would be the end.

sad face
My face when I see seriously sick people paraded as specimens of pity. I believe we can do better as a nation… We really can

Around my workplace, early in the mornings…some other groups carry the sick and line them up with their ailments in the open. Some of these sickness that one’s eyes shouldn’t behold, they’ll put them out for display and be playing, “Ekueme… Ekueme” or all those songs that appeal to one’s heart with loud speakers. If this isn’t emotional blackmail, then I don’t know. These people come day in, day out: no form of accountability and no tracking. How do I know that this money indeed is being used for treatment? You’re right…. I don’t. So I keep giving and giving and the fellow still remains untreated. Yet, they are on display again the next day

*Sigh

Let’s not even start with the ‘corporate’ beggars. These ones just always happen to be stranded all the time and they mostly state how much they want. “Aunty, help me with #200 please…” I recall one evening I was headed home and this guy was at on the BRT stands. He asked for money and I didnt oblige him because he was pretty young and able-bodied. Next thing I know, some people are discussing behind me about this same guy has been there for days always asking for #100 to complete his ticket money. He doesn’t buy any ticket, he basically just scams #100 from unsuspecting people. This one enh to me is in same family as 419. It is a crime.

I heard begging is against Lagos’ laws but I honestly wish there was some form of social service structure that the ones obviously in need of help can be absorbed and given adequate help.

If I am asked, I’d say beggars be totally eradicated from the road. Or at least greatly reduced. But stopping this also wouldn’t be fair to the genuine ones if there is no structure for social services or if it isn’t robust enough to absorb at least the sincere ones.

What do you think of beggars in Lagos? Is it all emotional blackmail or sincerely, they need help or a mix of both. Do you have a story on this you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them… so let’s discuss in the comment section.

PS: comments and contributions make me really happy. Thank you in advance and have a lovely lovely weekend!

Cheers!

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11 thoughts on “Beggars in Lagos… Emotional Blackmailers VS Sincere Needy

  1. hmmm.. I think they should be removed from the roads. I know it may sound “wicked” but they are becoming so many and the worst for me is having to see illnesses that shouldn’t be seen so openly. I’m an adult but what about the children in vehicles or walking by? I just don’t think it’s appropraite.
    During NYSC, I had to use the Ikeja pedestrain bridge and I hated every moment I had use that bridge. Forcing people to see diseases doesn’t seem like the best way to get help.
    But yeah, the government (not necessarily the state govt) isn’t so responsible but beggars need to be taken off the roads.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. It is a mix of both. *Sigh. I face this struggle regularly, I would hate to withhold help from a truly needy person when I can help, so in the past, I usually just gave without really considering if they were scammers or not.

    But these days, I’m trying to apply as much wisdom as I can when giving, that way I can more cleary single out those who are truly in need of help and help.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. You should read Faceless by Amma Darko captured the street child phenomenon. It’s so sad. Some are really on their own but the vast majority are working for some selfish heads. Here in the north the Almajiri system is in full swing. These kids are picked from the village by so called rich Muslim scholars in the city for education and after one week of leisure they’re introduced to the beggars life. They have quotas to make daily which is met with beating when not reached

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Okay, one time I was on a bus and this fellow passenger got approached by a begging mother and her baby. Aggressive as he became, he made a good point, in quote “do you not have hands and legs? Are you disabled in any way at all? You’re a healthy woman, you expect me to toil day and night for my money and hand it to you while you sit and do nothing all day? Your husband is at home all he does is get you pregnant over and over again” she got offended and walked away. When I served in PortHarcourt, this litluns will literally grab your leg and follow across traffic. What is a car hits them?

    Like

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