Residents have been lamenting the activities of child beggars in many parts of Lagos State.
Our correspondent who monitored their activities in some parts of the metropolis on Monday and Tuesday reported that the child beggars were fast becoming a menace in areas such as Okokomaiko, Agege, LASU-Iyana Iba, Alaba Rago, Oshodi, Berger, Seven-Up and Ikeja among others.
The child beggars whose ages range between six and 15 years, ran after passers-by and harass them to ensure that they parted with money.
A passerby, who identified himself simply as Stephen, told our correspondent in Okokomaiko that the beggars were gradually becoming security threats as some of them also stole from their targets.
“It is not only that these child beggars stain people’s clothes, sometimes they could steal people’s phones. One needs to be careful when dealing with them. Not all of these beggars have good intentions,” Stephen said.
Our correspondent, who engaged a beggar through an interpreter on why her children were not in school, was told that the children’s father remained in the Northern part of the country.
“The children’s father is in the North and the girl, who is the elder sister to the boy, will go back to the North for her education later,” the woman who did not disclose her name said.
Our correspondent reports that child beggars are always clustered in filthy environments capable of breeding epidemics.
At Ikeja, our correspondent saw the child beggars roaming around under the bridge and around the Aviation Building axis.
A resident, simply identified as Kehinde, who uses the pedestrian bridge located around Motor Ways close to the Old Toll Gate, also told our correspondent about her daily experience in the hands of the child beggars on the bridge.
“There are usually about 50 beggars around and on the pedestrian bridge. These beggars are always in queue like a gathering of soldier ants,” she said.
Another resident, Ayomide, recalled his experience in the hands of the street beggars who operated in Ogba.
“When approaching where I usually join Ogba bus in Agege, the child beggars would cluster around me, attempting to dip their hands in my pockets and I usually find it difficult beating them,” he said.
Apart from child beggars, our correspondent also noticed nursing mothers who went around begging for alms with their babies.
Several attempts made to get the reaction of the Director, Public Affairs Unit in the state Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Mrs Adeola Olabisi, did not yield results as of the time of filing this report.
When contacted on the telephone, Olabisi asked our correspondent to send her a message.
She had yet to respond to the message sent as of press time on Thursday.