Following the Kaduna State Assembly’s law banning street begging, beggars in the state staged a protest on Wednesday, giving Governor Nasir El-Rufai a seven day ultimatum to withdraw the law.
The beggars who consisted of the blind, deaf, crippled, both young and elderly, as well as women with their babies strapped to their backs stormed the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Kaduna State Secretariat saying they are ready to sacrifice their lives to stop the law.
The protesting beggars said nobody can stop them from begging without providing them with alternative means of survival.
They raised placards with inscriptions such as “El-Rufai before stopping street begging, pass state disability bill”, “Fulfil your campaign promises before banning street begging”, and “Give us 10 percent job opportunity as you promised before banning street begging.”
Recall that last week, Governor El-Rufai had assented to the bill to ban street begging and hawking. This the beggars described as contrary to the promises made to them during his campaign, and threatened to occupy the Government House in their large numbers if El-Rufai would not withdraw the law.
Chairman of Concerned Citizens with Disabilities, Julius Shemang, lamenting the beggars concerns said that the passage of the law contradicted the agreed process reached between them and the government, adding that adequate provision and solutions would be proffered before the law would come into effect.
In his words; “We are therefore writing to register our concern before you and the State assembly categorically that the signing and passage of the street begging and hawking Bill without our Bill signed with a commission in line with Article 4 of the United Nations convention on the rights of persons with Disabilities ( UNCRPD) will spell more hardship for our members.”
Former National Vice Chairman, of the Joint National Association of Persons With Disabilities (JONAPWD), Comrade Rilwanu Mohammed Abdullahi also said they will soon occupy the state government house if after seven days the state governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai refused to pass the bill to set up a disability commission in the state.