LAGOS – Three babies have been rescued and two Lagos beggars apprehended by the State Ministry of Youth and Social Development for using the less than a month old infants to beg for alms.
According to the Commissioner, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, the babies were rescued on Thursday at Oyingbo area of the state – one of many area swamped with beggars; old, young and children, in Lagos.
The two women, Hadiza Nosiru and Salamotu Salisu, who were arrested in the process, were natives of Jigawa State.
Akinbile-Yussuf said that the infants were rescued during a routine operation carried out by the ministry’s Rescue Team. The women, she added, had been taken to Rehabilitation and Training Center at Maijidun, Ikorodu for shelter, while investigation is currently being carried out and possible legal action may be taken.
From the confessions of the accused, the infants were not even biologically related to the women, but are taken from their parents for use to raise alms for themselves.
Statements coming directly from the commissioner said,
“Preliminary investigation revealed that these women are not the biological mothers of the babies.
“The babies were given out to them by their parents who later get paid everyday on each baby.”
Akinbile-Yussuf described the act of those Lagos beggars as a heartless practice, which had denied these innocent babies of proper care, breastfeeding, while exposing them to hazards on the streets.
She called on members of the public to join hands with the state government and eradicate the menace.
“The ministry has observed that the incident has been a recurring issue among some female beggars in the state and we promise to pay deeper attention to the issue.
“Necessary legal actions will be taken against the parties involved to serve as deterrent to others and those planning to perpetuate any form of child abuse and inhuman act against innocent children.
“The state government will continue to intensify efforts to get rid of street begging in all areas of the state.
“And we urge individuals willing to show generosity to do so through established orphanages and rehabilitation homes in the state.”
Meanwhile, one of the biological mothers of the infants, who was paraded at Alausa, Ikeja along with the three infants has identified herself as Tawa Aregbesola from Ibadan. She confessed that she had an arrangement with one of the women arrest by the team.
Aregbesola said she gave out her baby for alms begging between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. daily on conditions that the sum of N1,000 or N1,500 be paid her as returns. A mother of four children, Aregbesola claimed she has little clue of where her baby was usually taken for alms begging.
Sadly, many Lagos beggars or beggars around the world who carry babies to beg sympathy alms from masses, are ignorant of the implications and dangers they expose these innocent babies to, just like Aregbesola.