COVID-19-induced hard times: Kano beggars adopt new survival strategies -GCFRNG

COVID-19-induced hard times: Kano beggars adopt new survival strategies -GCFRNG

As tough times get tougher after the COVID-19 pandemic, beggars in Kano State have adopted new begging strategies to survive. The Arewa Voice findings indicate that beggars have become more creative and strategic in pursuit of their livelihoods despite the state government banning street begging in 2020. With the ban in place and the beggars who are not keen to withdraw from the bustle of the streets, many of them, particularly women and children, have adopted novel tactics to earn a living on the street.

Contrary to the well-known and old-fashioned method of using fierce-looking and unattractive boys to beg, beggars now come in the form of young and middle-aged women seeking help on street corners. Others, who know the city of Kano and its people, are located in strategic places; especially in areas frequented by prominent people, to solicit alms regardless of the time of day.

Others settle for begging in select areas where the wealthy relax in the evening after the day’s work, while another group of beggars comes in the form of young mothers with “helpless and disabled” babies who urgently need help reaching out to people. prominent. All these tactics, which constitute a nuisance to public order, have already been banned by the Kano state government and the beggars are simply testing the will of the state.

To show his resentment against street begging, the state governor, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, earlier this year announced a ban on street begging by the Almajirai while introducing new measures to support the policy of his administration on free and compulsory education in the state. The governor also implemented punitive measures for those arrested for street begging and violators of the ban.

He said: “When the almajirai are caught begging, it is not only the beggar who is caught, but also their parents or guardians. Such parents or guardians would be brought to court to face the wrath of the law. This policy of free and compulsory basic and secondary education goes hand in hand with the integration of our almajirai system in the implementation of the general policy. This suggests that English and arithmetic should be included in the curriculum of Almajirai schools. “

Similarly, the state government, through the office of the commissioner for women’s affairs, also launched a program to remove married and single beggars from the streets. In March 2021, the commissioner launched a street operation that culminated in the arrest and repatriation of some beggars while others received some financial assistance to get off the street.

The state government, however, complained that most of the beggars were from the neighboring states of Kaduna, Bauchi, Borno, Yobe and others and that they were unwilling to allow the nuisance of begging to continue unabated.

Commissioner Dr. Malama Zahra’u Umar said: “We realized that because Kano is peaceful, that’s why they came. It is very dangerous to leave them on the street without knowing their parents because bad behavior is mostly found among beggars. We will continue to arrest them to ensure sanity and rid the streets of all forms of crime. “

One of the beggars told Arewa Voice that they had no choice but to keep begging as life was becoming more difficult for them, who are unemployed and have no benefactors to care for them. She said: “We are poor and our father is unemployed and we have to use whatever technique is available to get help from anyone who is willing to help us no matter what people think of us. We are not very happy to be on the streets begging, but we have no choice but to do anything to survive.

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“Sometimes we need to carry children because our potential helpers are easily touched by the sight of the children we carry. There are other times and places where we have to go and beg and come back with some money without bringing children when we have no other option, that’s why they see us with the children because our helpers know that we really need their help ”.

A nurse on staff at one of the hospitals, who has witnessed the harassment of members of the public by beggars for cash, said the government must urgently address the nuisance of beggars in the state before it gets out of hand. “The government has yet to review this issue despite the way people complain about having to face the shame of being approached by married women asking for money. You need to take drastic measures to control it as a result of the way it is growing. It could be the result of poverty and hardship, but it is not an excuse, ”says the medical worker.

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