By Mumini Abdulkareem
The Muslim Media Watch Group of Nigeria (MMWG) has called on state governors throughout the country to ban street begging adding that Islam abhors it.
The National Coordinator of MMWG, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi made the call in a statement sent to National Pilot adding that it was a ticking time bomb if not attended to on time.
According to him, the idea of begging on the streets in Nigeria has reached an alarming proportion to the extent that some of those involved regards it as a profession. He noted that more worrisome is the participation of children of school-age from 5 years to 20 in the unwholesome exercise.
According to him, to continue to watch the situation unattended is to live with a time-bomb that could explode anytime.
“In fact, the current insecurity in the Country could partly be blamed on the lackadaisical attitude of the State Governments of Northern Nigeria to the issue of street begging. Some of them are vulnerable to being recruited for insurgency and terrorism. Therefore, as we search for solution to insecurity, we must target the lazy and terrible youths who are involved in begging.
“Unfortunately, some bad Qur’anic teachers, irresponsible parents and guardians have abdicated their responsibilities of good orientation and parenting by leaving their children and wards for them to roam the streets begging. This must stop!
“Islam is totally against begging. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was reported to have told someone during his lifetime – who came to him begging, to pick a cutlass and go to the bush to cut firewood and be selling instead of begging. This underscores the importance of hard work in the lifetimes of everyone and an authority for people to know that Islam abhors begging.
“The Muslim Media Watch Group of Nigeria therefore, call on all state governments in Nigeria to ban street-begging. Of particular importance, all the 19 States in Northern Nigeria where the practice is highly dominant must outlaw begging except in the places of worship and extremely poor and old people. The idea of lining-up on our major streets in the capitals and main towns, motor-parks, restaurants, petrol stations must be stopped.
“We (MMWG) commend Kaduna, Kano and Nassarawa State Governments that have banned street-begging and urge and other states especially in Northern Nigeria to do same.
“Islamic religious teachers supporting begging have limited knowledge and must be ignored. As a matter of fact, with Ministries of Social Development in all States in Nigeria, a careful planning could be evolved whereby genuinely poor, old people and people with any form of disability could be catered for instead of encouraging begging as a means of livelihood.
Parents and guardians who are truly poor could be helped by the State Governments through taking responsibility for their children’s education, clothing, feeding and general welfare. The abdication of this process and lack of planning for the less-privileged among us by all state governments brought us where we are today.
“The so-called Almajiri schools introduced during the Jonathan administration were another form of corruption where funds and materials were diverted to personal and private pockets. This must be stopped henceforth”, it submitted.