By Abdullahi Yusuf
As the hunger and poverty situations bite harder in the country,beggars are now swarming the ancient city of Kano, asking the residents for alms.
The beggars, most of whom are women and children, are sighted in virtually all public places in the commercial town such as markets, eateries,motor parks,stadia and worship centres.
They could also be seen on the streets of the capital city, asking for alms from motorists and commuters.
Some of them have become so desperate and daring as to be knocking on vehicles’ side windows, begging the passengers for alms.
Investigation by our Correspondent revealed that the situation is largely caused by poverty and the prevailing hunger in the land which have forced many people to resort to begging to survive.
It was gathered that the beggars who throng Kano largely from towns and villages in the state,as well as from the neighbouring states, ask for food or money with which to buy food.
Some of them interviewed blamed their predicament on poverty and hunger currently ravaging the country.
Among them is Talatu Ali from Kano State who told our Correspondent that she resorted to begging because her husband had abandoned her with their five children to fend for themselves.
“Look, I took to this dishonourable act because I didn’t have a choice; my husband abandoned us because he couldn’t feed us any more,as his petty trading has crashed,” Ali said.
Another one,Salisu Abu, an Almajiri said he came to Kano from Katsina State to access Qur’anic education, explaining that since his parents did not make any feeding arrangements for him,he had to beg to be able to keep body and soul together.
“I thank God I have been able to eat and even make some pocket money through this begging; while my educational pursuit is going on without any hitch,” Abu said.
Sufura’u Isa,a widow from Jigawa State is also among them, whom said she resorted to begging because she had nobody to provide for her and three children,since her husband had passed on.
“I was forced to take to begging because my husband died last year, and as such, no one can provide for us,as you can see, everybody nowadays fend themselves,” Isa explained.
A motorist,Malam Auduwa Ibrahim,decried the attitude of the beggars, lamenting that he found it intimidating and harassing when they knocked on his car side window to ask him for alms.
“How can a beggar knock on my car window asking me for alms;is it compulsory that I must give them my money,” Auduwa asked.
He urged the relevant authorities to urgently check the menace,”before the situation degenerates to something else.”
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of the state security outfit,the Hisbah Board,Malam Lawan Ibrahim Fage, said the organization had in the past made tremendous efforts to evacuate the street beggars some of whom he said, were from the state; while some crossed in from the neghbouring states such as Katsina and Jigawa.
Fage said some of the beggars were even from the republic of Chad,the Niger republic,and lately from the Sudan.
He, however, said that the mandate of evacuating the beggars had been transferred to a new Directorate in the State, expressing confidence that efforts would be made to address the menace.