INTRIGUING: Beggars Take Over Governor Sanwo-Olu's Office, Demand End To Harassment [PHOTOS]

INTRIGUING: Beggars Take Over Governor Sanwo-Olu's Office, Demand End To Harassment [PHOTOS]

Hundreds of beggars occupied the Lagos State Governor's office on
Tuesday to demand an end to what they described as unwarranted harassment and arrest of their members by state officials.

It was gathered they arrived in over 10 buses and seven tricycles, barricading the Lagos State House of Assembly entrance while furiously threatening to remain perpetually in the area unless Babajide Sanwo-Olu came to speak to them.

The Punch reported the demonstrators bearing placards with inscriptions such as "Enough is enough," "Stop the persecution of people with disabilities," refused to stand down despite pleas by state officials who informed them of the governor's unavailability.

They also dared the police to harass them.

A spokesperson for the beggars and Coordinator, Physically Challenged Empowerment Initiatives, Mohammed Zanna, said when the group protested at Alausa in 2017, many of their members were arrested and taken to a place at Majidun.

He described the place as a prison, saying they were manhandled by government officials.

Zanna claimed that without making any provisions for their welfare, government dumped them at Majidun, adding that some of them died in detention.

According to him, some of the beggars had purchased tricycles to make a living when the government banned the operators in some parts of the state.

He lamented that life had become difficult for them, adding that beggars trekked from bus stops to their destinations and some physically challenged persons among them lacked means of transportation.

He noted that on February 7, 2020, his group came with 500 beggars for a peaceful protest to draw the attention of the governor to the challenges facing persons living with disabilities across Lagos State whose livelihoods and mobility had been “undermined by the shocking ban on tricycle riders.”

“We cannot enter buses because we cannot fight and struggle. We are seeking audience with the governor. Let him tell us what they want to do with us. We need skills and empowerment. We are tired of sitting at home. We are demanding to be skilled.

“We do not want to beg on the streets. We have used our own ingenuity and resources to provide alternative livelihoods for ourselves that are more dignified, safer and productive to society.

“Yet, in the blink of an eye, this government is willing to destroy all we have built for ourselves and push us back into poverty and life without basic human dignity.

“We are ready to work with government to find workable alternatives through appropriate regulation of keke, special permits for people living with disabilities to use our keke for the transportation of our members or real and immediate support for alternative livelihoods through skills training and support for us to start new businesses,” he said.
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