By Tunji Moronfoye
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, residents of Ilorin I want to bring to our attention the unpleasant heavy inflow of destitute beggars into the Kwara state capital, Ilorin.
Let me start from the diamond underpass at Kofar Geri-Alimi. The top part is now swarming with female beggars and their kids, mostly below the age of six. They just like arrived overnight and they then took residence there. There were beggars there in the past, however not like the influx of the last months. By my crude estimate, I am going to say about 100 destitute families took residence strategically on the top part of the underpass.
Let’s go to the Gambari part of Ilorin metropolis, that is their headquarters from time immemorial. The population explosion there is monumental and unbelievable all in the space of 3 months. However, I might have just noticed them, the population might have built up over a period of years without me noticing. Ipata medians are also overflowing with beggars.
Let’s do Tanke roundabout next, all of us know that the female beggars occupy the median leading to Offa Garage from Tanke, now they are on all the medians exiting the Tanke roundabout. The male destitutes have always stayed by the tipper garage coming from ‘F’ Division police station, leading to Tanke junction GRA, they’re still there and their population has since quadrupled.
Let’s now do where you live, just go to the bottom of your road/street and you will see resident beggars mostly female with little children in tow. If not yet, trust me your empty unoccupied street is next.
Now, we need to look at why there is this heavy influx into Ilorin, mostly these people barring a few are from core northern Nigerian extraction. The other few are actually foreigners from neighboring countries bordering the Northern part of Nigeria. Ilorin is strategically located between the northern and southern part of Nigeria. The city of harmony, quite “slow” no wahala. We have a population that is sympathetic to giving alms. So we automatically became a soft target for these beggars.
There are many implications to this influx, security, esthetic, cultural, financial, economic and health implications.
Solutions are abound. We citizens need to do a few things like refusing to be easy targets to their mostly fraudulent, sympathy seeking techniques. The state government should also look at ways of recognising Kwarans and non Kwarans among them. Kwarans should be rehabilitated while non Kwarans should be sent back to whence they came from. As a matter of fact I was informed that most of the new entrances were brought from Lagos and nearby states by their state government vehicles and they were then dumped in the middle of the night in Ilorin. (Geri Alimi massive influx explained)