Lagos State Assembly Addresses Street Begging Issue
Members of the Lagos State House of Assembly engaged in a deliberation on Tuesday regarding the potential enactment of a law aimed at addressing the problem of street begging throughout the state
. This proposed legislation would also criminalize the act of offering money to street beggars, signaling the seriousness of the issue.
Speaker’s Support for the Legislation
Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, the Speaker of the House, expressed his concurrence with fellow lawmakers during the plenary session.
He characterized street begging as an escalating menace within the state, further emphasizing that criminal elements have exploited the streets under the guise of beggars.
Recognition of Previous Efforts
In response to the motion presented by Hon. Abiodun Orekoya and his colleagues, Dr. Obasa acknowledged the prior efforts made by various administrations in the state to address street begging. However, he pointed out that the issue has continued to persist despite these attempts.
Need for Comprehensive Legislation
Dr. Obasa underscored the necessity of a comprehensive law that would not only outlaw street begging but also impose penalties on individuals providing money to beggars on the streets.
He stressed the importance of addressing the root causes of the problem, highlighting the presence of organized groups profiting from the activity.
Establishment of a Dedicated Centre
The proposed law, according to Dr. Obasa, should establish a dedicated center where individuals who wish to offer alms can do so.
This center would ensure that the alms reach those genuinely in need, while the law would establish a fund managed by trustworthy individuals to facilitate access to those in need.
Balancing Religious Obligations and Public Safety
Dr. Obasa noted that this approach would allow people to fulfill their religious obligations related to almsgiving while simultaneously curbing street begging, reducing street crime, and promoting greater civic responsibility among residents.
He emphasized that eliminating beggars from the streets is crucial to achieving the state’s smart city goals.
Addressing the Challenges of Street Trading
In addition to beggars, Dr. Obasa raised concerns about street trading and its global prevalence. He encouraged local government chairmen to devise solutions for managing street trading, rather than merely attempting to remove traders from the streets.
The Speaker questioned the exorbitant pricing of shops and the products that traders would offer, emphasizing the need for comprehensive strategies.
The Path Forward
Dr. Obasa called for a comprehensive strategy to tackle the challenges posed by street begging, discouraged direct giving to beggars on the streets, and urged local authorities to develop innovative approaches for regulating street trading.
Tackling Street Begging for a Safer and Responsible Community
The Speaker emphasized that addressing street begging and street trading is essential for enhancing the safety and overall quality of life for the people of Lagos State.