The Begging Conundrum: Taking a Second Look at Begging -By Jamilu Maiwada

Filed under: National Issues |
Governor Nasir El-rufai of Kaduna State and the beggers.

Governor Nasir El-rufai of Kaduna State and the beggers.


Former House of Representatives Member representing Katsina Federal Constituency, Late Badamasi Kabir Usman was approached by a beggar and asked him for help; that he and his family didn’t have anything to eat. Badamsi haven been a son of an Emir, couldn’t believe that in Katsina, there would be a person who doesn’t have anything to eat. Out of curiosity, he asked one of his staff to follow that beggar to his house and confirmhe narration. To their amazement they did not find even a single grain in that man house. Yes, that’s how bad poverty is in Nigeria.

Former Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso and Governor Nasir Elrufa’i were applauded for the banning of street begging in both print and social media, which is a very good initiative because begging is one of the main challenges of Northern Nigeria. Unfortunately, most people that can afford a newspaper and or an internet bundle are just like Late Badamasi Kabir, who never experienced poverty and don’t have any direct contact with the poor.

Begging is prohibited by prophet Muhammad (SAW) except in three conditions; 1) Person who vouched for someone to settle a dispute; 2) Person who is overwhelmed by a disaster that he lost everything he own; or 3) Someone that is in abject poverty. Therefore, Northern Nigeria, which is predominantly Muslims, should be the first people to kick against begging. But before you applaud any leader for banning begging, you should first ask the leader what he has done to take care of these categories of people I have mentioned.

Begging is bad also poverty is real! There is this old woman who is too weak to work and don’t have any son or daughter to take care of her; there is this blind man who don’t have anyone to take care of him; there is this young man who couldn’t find even a laborer job; and there is this Almajiri boy who have no one to feed him to mention few….. These people don’t beg for fun neither they are trying to accumulate wealth, they just want to eat! Unless the government provides a system that will take care of these people, they shouldn’t be applauded just for banning begging.

The Government should first improve the economy by providing an enabling environment for industries and developing mining and agriculture where even the uneducated young men/women can have a job they can feed on. Secondly, it should provide an effective social welfare agency that can take care of the old and people with disabilities; providing them with an option other than begging. Lastly, the Government should restructure the Almajiri system by integrating it into the universal basic education, employing the teachers (Alarammas), feeding the kids (Almajirai) and training them with a skill that they can us when they grow. If government provides all these options for the people they don’t even have to tell them to stop begging.

Jamilu Maiwada is a Pharmacy Intern from Kano.
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