Governor Nasir El-Rufai and beggars have reached an understanding on the recent ban on street begging and hawking in Kaduna State. That is following the government’s decision to rehabilitate and train the disabled persons on various skills yesterday.
El Rufai, who made this known after visiting the Kaduna State Rehabilitation Centre, which is located at Kakuri and the beggars’ colony at Kano road, said that the interest of a group who think they have the right to beg cannot override the security of over eight million residents of Kaduna State.
It will be recalled that Kaduna State government had banned street begging and hawking, following the suicide bomb attack which claimed 25 lives in Zaria last Tuesday.
The government said that the measure was for security reasons.
At the weekend, beggars took to the streets in protest of the ban and threatened to continue begging because government has not given them an alternative source of livelihood.
The beggars also threatened to sue El Rufai for defamation, for linking them with the Zaria bombing.
However, the physically challenged have agreed to sheathe their sword and give up begging as El Rufai promised to rehabilitate the Rehabilitation Centre which has the capacity to house and train 500 physically challenged people.
The governor clarified that no beggar will be re-patriated on the ground that he is not an indigene of Kaduna State, adding that all residents of the state will be given equal opportunity under his administration.
El-Rufai also promised to acquire a land for the disabled at the Kano Road Beggars Colony, which will be located close to their place of abode in order to build a training centre for them
Responding, head of the beggars in Kaduna State, Abdullahi Samaila, commended El Rufai for visiting them and promised to cooperate with him.
He further said that they do not derive pleasure in begging for alms but were compelled to do so out of survival.
Abdullahi promised that his members will get out of the streets once the governor fulfills his promise.