OYO Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Mr Isaac Ishola, has said that the state government was being strategic in asking beggars to evacuate the state so as to avoid inter-tribal crisis.
Speaking against the backdrop of inquiry by the State House of Assembly on the increasing number of beggars across the state, Ishola said the government intended to create a destitute centre where beggars could be relocated to.
He however decried the abandonment of the space created for the beggars at Jemibewon area of Ibadan.
Furthermore, he hinted of the constitution of environmental tribunal where able persons who took to begging as an occupation would be prosecuted.
“The government has started strong action against the issue of begging in the state. Initially, we thought that the beggars were just Northerners. We have held two meetings with the northerners with a view to asking them to leave the streets. However, care has to be taken so as to avoid inter-tribal crisis.
“We may be accused of sending away northerners from the state. What we want to do is create a destitute centre for them such that when we arrest them, we can relocate them to such centre. However, we have some of them that can be referred to as real economic beggars. They are able and only do not want to work.”
“We created a space for them at Jemibewon area of Ibadan, where anyone who wants to offer them assistance can meet them. During the day, you hardly find the beggars under the Mokola Bridge, but once it is evening, they return there. We also have some people who probably due to the economic recession are well-dressed, but are actually beggars, usually known as “fine bara”. So, it is difficult to identify those kind of persons.”
“But, with the constitution of environmental tribunal, once we arrest such persons and confirm such person not to be a destitute or beggar, we charge such person to court and they will be dealt with accordingly,” Ishola said.