How can the number of beggars be reduced in Nigeria? This question was posed by a user of the forum discussion platform Quora.
Below are some replies given to the question:
1. A user, Farook Ajose said: "In my opinion, the best solution would be, the restriction of panhandling on the major roads.
"Banning aggressive panhandling -which often involves pocket picking and coercion. The establishment of National Rehabilitation centres to house and counsel panhandlers.
"Coalition with NGOs, religious organisations and charities on the counselling and welfare of former panhandlers who are in the NRCs. The establishment of government vocational schools to provide entrepreneural skills to these former panhandlers."
2. Oyemi Sillo said: "We need social welfare. A good number of street beggars seem to have some disability or medical condition.
"Universal health care that guarantees that everyone has access to at least basic health services, will reduce (if not remove) the need for people to go street begging in order to pay medical bills.
"Some form of allowance for poor people with disabilities. We also need to remove other barriers that might exclude them from society. Compulsory, free, basic education, homeless shelters, food banks, unemployment allowance.
"Basically, if the basics (food, shelter, education, healthcare) were available to all Nigerians, regardless of their financial circumstances, I think the number of street beggars would reduce significantly."
3. Emmanuel-Francis Nwaolisa Ogomegbunam said:
"As the other answers have noted, begging cannot be stopped. What other countries have done is shift it from informal institutions: family, streets, churches, loan-sharks e.t.c to formal institutions: banks e.t.c.
"We, of course, have such formal institutions, but they don’t lend to us because most Nigerians aren’t credit-worthy, we, in turn, tend to avoid them because their interest charges are killer.
"Seems to me that a solution would be to improve the credit-worthiness of most Nigerians, that would entail a booming economy and ensuring that all Nigerians have traceable identities: BVN and our NIN numbers are a start.
"Then drive down the interest rate so people are more willing to borrow from banks. Rebranding begging as it were."
4. Howard Galt said: "The simplest and most humane way to get rid of beggars is to stop giving them money. As soon as begging is not profitable, they will find something else to do to earn a living.
"If you have a culture of begging, it means that you also have a culture of giving money to beggars. You must educate the people who are giving the money to organize and find a more constructive way to help."
5. Idy Udoma-Udofa said: "Grow the economy by ensuring Nigeria becomes prosperous. Drop Sharia law, for the poorest of the poorest people their hand and legs is their main factor of production , when sharia law cuts them off the people become very very useless to society.
"Pass a law that ensures no one preaches against vaccination, so you don’t have polio ridden kids walk the streets to bed."
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The development was confirmed by Garus Gololo, National Coordinator of Miyietti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Benue state chapter.
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