Beggars may sue el-Rufai over ban on street begging

Beggars in Kaduna State on Saturday threatened to sue the Nasir el-Rufai led government over the ban on their activities.

They also gave the state a three-day ultimatum to rescind its decision.

They said the legal action was to protest against what they termed violation of their rights to life and defamation of character.

They added that by the ban, the government was indirectly referring to them as “terrorists,” because the action was taken after the bomb blast in Zaria, a major city in the state.

They also threatened that after the expiration of the ultimatum, they would return to the streets to continue their normal business.

The beggars insisted that the ban on their activities in the wake of the Zaria bomb blast which claimed about 40 lives and property worth millions of naira, was a wrong step in the wrong direction.

While protesting on Saturday, one of the beggars, Abdullahi Jugunu, said they were merely expressing their rights to fair hearing.

Jugunustated, ‘‘We are not deterred by the government ban. We are giving the state a three-day ultimatum to reverse its decision.

“After three days, if nothing happens from the side of government, we will have no choice than to come to the street for our normal business.”

The beggars were joined by women and their children who chanted songs against the government.

The beggars who spoke in unison noted that they felt insulted by the action of the government.

Meanwhile, the governor on Saturday said the ban was necessary for security reasons.

He said the decision to temporarily restrict the activities of beggars and hawkers was for their safety.

The governor, who spoke through his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Samuel Aruwan, at a press conference, added that the ban on hawking and begging was to ensure the security of lives and property.

Aruwan said the decision was not targeted at the beggars or hawkers in the state.

He also appealed to the affected persons to cooperate with the government.

He said: “Kaduna State Government’s decision to ban hawking and begging in the state following last week’s bomb attack that killed 26 innocent citizens and injured 32 persons at the secretariat of Sabon Gari Local Government area of the state.

“The ban was necessitated by the security situation in the state and to ensure maximum protection of lives and property. The Kaduna State Government under, Governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai, will never unleash pains on beggars and hawkers in the state.”

He added that the government decision’s was not targeted at the beggars but to protect the citizens.

He said, “As painful as it could be or misrepresented, the decision was taken in the best interest of our citizens and government appreciates support from all sections of the state regarding the reality of our security situation.”

He noted that the government was conscious of its constitutional role to protect citizens and to ensure law and order for common good.

According to him, the state government will not fold its arms and allowed citizens to be killed hence the decision.

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