The Federal Capital Territory Administration has recently made efforts to rid the streets of the FCT, Abuja of destitute, street beggars and other human and environmental nuisances. The Director of the Department of Social Welfare Services, Social Development Secretariat of the FCTA, Alhaji Sani Amar-Rabe, disclosed that a total of 217 individuals were repatriated from the streets of the FCT and sent to their various states.
Speaking in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria at the FCT Vocational and Rehabilitation Centre in Bwari Area Council, the director explained that the repatriation was in line with the directive of the FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu and the Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr Olusade Adesola. He stated that it was the responsibility of the FCTA to ensure that those evacuated from the streets are repatriated to their various states.
According to Amar-Rabe, the repatriation exercise was carried out on those who were apprehended for destitution, street begging, street boys, and vagabonds. Those who showed interest in learning vocational skills were trained, while those who did not show interest were repatriated. The director also revealed that some of the destitute and beggars consider the FCT safer and economically viable, especially those from the North West and North East, hence their decision to move to Abuja for survival.
The director further called on the residents of FCT to desist from giving alms to street beggars, as this encourages them to remain on the streets and constitute a nuisance to the city. He also warned that some street boys who pose as destitute can become a threat to the security of the residents, especially those who sleep under bridges.
The Principal of FCT Vocational and Rehabilitation Centre, Bwari, Bala Dantsoho, said that most of those who were repatriated could not be trained, hence they had to be sent back to their various states. The FCT Minister of State, Aliyu, has been in contact with some of the state governments through their liaison offices to ensure that the affected states are more responsive in addressing and managing the repatriated destitute and beggars.
In conclusion, the FCTA has taken a bold step in addressing the issue of destitute and street begging in Abuja. However, there is a need for a more sustainable approach to address the root cause of the problem, which includes poverty, unemployment and lack of social support. The government should create more job opportunities, provide social support, and empower the youth with relevant skills to reduce the prevalence of street begging and destitution in the society.