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Beggars return to streets, pedestrian bridges in FCT, become aggressive

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Cyril Mbah, Abuja

Several destitute, who were removed from the commercial and residential districts of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have relocated to the six area councils and pedestrian bridges located along the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Road and the Abuja-Kubwa-Kaduna highway.

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) task force on environmental sanitation, last month, arrested more than 200 destitute, who operated as beggars in several parts of Abuja in its renewed commitment to rid the Federal Capital City (FCC) of nuisance to enhance the security of lives and property of residents.

Many of the arrested destitute were transported back to their states of origin while others were sent to the Leprosy Camp situated at Yangoji in Kwali Area Council of the territory.

Our correspondent noticed, however, that barely one month after the operation, many of the disabled persons have sneaked back into the city and operate in an aggressive manner to attract the attention of pedestrians.

Some of their antics, such as grabbing people’s clothes or blocking access ways for passers-by between the evening hours and night periods especially on the many pedestrian bridges along the two major highways in the city has further added to the annoyance of residents who are reluctant to part with their hard-earned cash.

Destitute persons who beg along the roads in the satellite towns and area councils, have also increased with an equally alarming number of out-of-school children who are growing in number more than usual due to the high birth rate and the absence of family planning among the beggars.
Residents of Kuje town in Kuje Area Council have since lamented the risk posed by the growing number of beggars, who line-up beside the busy exit routes, in the community, especially as one male cripple was recently caught with an explosive device and he confessed under interrogation that the explosive was given to him by a member of the Boko Haram sect.

Meanwhile, the chairman, FCTA Ministerial Taskforce on City Sanitation, Mr. Ikharo Attah, vowed, in an interview with journalists, that the percentage of beggars in the city would not be allowed to grow as the agency will fish them out wherever they may be hiding.

He noted that many of the destitute were not even Nigerians but foreigners who migrated from neighbouring countries, assuring that the combined operations with other relevant agencies will soon rid Abuja of destitute and illegal roadside hawkers.

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