Mixed feelings have been expressed by the people of Oyo State as the State government has set in motion plans to have a law to arrest the prevalence of street beggars, destitute persons and mad men in the state. This was disclosed by the commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Mr Isaac Ishola and his Ministry of Women Affairs counterpart, Mrs Atinuke Osunkoya while attending to an invitation by the state House of Assembly on addressing the menace.
The proposed bill, spearheaded by the state Ministry of Women Affairs, seeks to empower relevant social workers to arrest, prosecute and evacuate street beggars, mad persons, and other destitute persons.
He, however, stated that the state government embarked on daily raiding of the beggars, but they tend to return to their ‘workplaces’ later in the evening.
“The issue of street begging, destitute requires a strong strategy and there must be a legal backing. There is no way we will have effective enforcement if we don’t have a legal backing. We believe that once the bill, when passed to the Assembly, becomes law, we will have every power to enforce the law.
“Currently, we do daily raiding especially street beggars and destitute people. How do we arrest madmen? Hence the law will allow arrest, treatment, evacuation and sending them back to their states. We will engage some people to assist us in this regard but we have to be mindful not to avoid another Soka experience,” Ishola said.
Speaking, in similar fashion, Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs Atinuke Osunkoya said the state government engaged over twenty workers to embark on daily raiding.
However, she noted that a law to prosecute and embarking on night raiding had become expedient to effectively address the menace.
She added that through the inter-ministerial efforts involving Ministry of Women Affairs, Health, and Environment, street beggars were counselled and reintegrated to their families.