By Salisu Sani-Idris
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has apprehended over 150 beggars in a bid to rid the FCT of nuisance, to enhance security.
Mr Ihkaro Attah, Chairman, FCTA Ministerial Task Force on City Sanitation, gave the figure while briefing newsmen after combined operations with other relevant agencies on Tuesday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the agencies involved in the operation were the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) and Social Development Secretariat (SDS).
Attah stated that the FCTA had observed with dismay the alarming rate of beggars in the city throughout Ramadan, due to the high level of almsgiving and charity by individuals and corporate organisations.
“In the last two days, over 150 beggars have been apprehended across the city, and more arrests are still going on,” Attah said.
According to him, those apprehended were taken to the Bwari Area Council Centre for Rehabilitation, adding that the FCT has a functional rehabilitation and training centre for such persons.
“Sadly, very few of them stay there and get full rehabilitation, while many others run away and sometimes, they request to be allowed to go back to their states.
“But what is very fundamental is that some of these persons are being brought by other people into the FCT.
“You will see young people guarding blind aged men; we felt that is not what the city should be.
According to him, the authority also feels for them, that is why the FCTA is investing resources to train them.
“However, we are targeting very strongly the syndicate that brings them into Abuja in large numbers, from states across the country.
“We realise that the syndicate drops them at strategic positions in town to make money for them. FCT is going all out to get them and ensure that they are prosecuted,” he said.
Similarly, Mr Kaka Bello, Head of Monitoring and Inspection, AEPB, described begging as a nuisance, adding that the board was determined to rid the city of all kinds of an environmental nuisance.
According to the official, the ridding of the FCT of beggars will be sustained by the board.
“We have a marching order by the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, to ensure that the movement of beggars within the city is checked and stopped.
“That is why we are working all-round both day and night, to ensure that no beggar is allowed to move in the city,” Bello said. (NAN)