Ogun community laments harassment by child beggars, demands relocation - AfrobadooTV
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Ogun community laments harassment by child beggars, demands relocation

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Residents of Arepo have lamented the security threat posed by the influx of child beggars around the Arepo Bridge, in the Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State.

PUNCH Metro gathered that the children and their family members usually begged for alms from motorists and residents navigating the area to various destinations.

During a recent visit to the community, our correspondent observed that the beggars were children, adults and physically challenged persons, some of whom had been living in shanties created around and beneath the bridge for over 10 years.

The beggars were said to have mostly migrated to the community from Jigawa, Katsina, Nasarawa, Kwara and Kano states due to insurgency, poverty and a search for better means of livelihood.

 

They were seen cooking and eating in their shade, as our correspondent also observed that the beggars lacked toilet facilities and reportedly bathed and defecated in the open.

A member of the Oodua People’s Congress in the community, Ogunsola Olayiwola, said the beggars also sometimes got married under the Arepo Bridge.

He said, “The beggars have been here for a long time; we try to warn them to appear clean to look pleasant for almsgiving, but they are deviant. I drove them away from a point beneath the bridge because they made it dirty.

“Officials of the Ministry of Environment came last year to observe the place and gave them a notice to clean the place where they live or it will be demolished, but they are not obeying. If the government can drive them away, the place will look better.

“We installed halogen lights for security so that anyone in danger can be rescued as we have observed that some of the beggars commit atrocities, including robbery.

“I want the government to take the beggars to a virgin land in Kara where they can get shelter.”

A resident, who identified herself as Mrs Subomi, called on the government to provide education to the children of the beggars, adding that the presence of the beggars was risky to residents and business owners in the vicinity.

A businesswoman, Sherifah Tobiloye, noted that the child beggars harassed residents as she appealed to the government to relocate them to a home built for beggars in the Ebute Metta area of Lagos State.

She said, “The beggars harass people to give them money and when you do, they are not satisfied. Just recently, I gave some of them corn instead of money, but they abused me.”

Traders in the area also noted that the child beggars ran after vehicles and passersby in desperate bids to get money.

One of the beggars, Hassan Abdullahi, said his family migrated to Arepo from a community in Kano State in 2014 to seek a better life.

Another beggar, Hassan Shaibu, said he had been living around the bridge since he came from Jigawa State seven months ago.

“I came to Ogun State because I did not have any source of livelihood in Jigawa. I have been begging for alms so I can gather cash and deliver it to my family. I live under Arepo Bridge,” he said.

The Leader of the Hausa community in Mowe-Ibafo, Shehu Usman, sought the understanding of residents, adding that most of the beggars relied on charity to survive.

“Can’t we provide shelter and social amenities for them to survive? Live and let live. You cannot condemn these people without reporting the crimes they commit.

“There is no section of the constitution where begging is a crime; if there are bad eggs among them, fish them out, prosecute them and leave the innocent ones alone,” he added.

The Ogun State Commissioner for Information, Waheed Odusile, said there was no law in the state permitting the destitute to live under a bridge.

He said, “I am not aware that there are beggars living at Arepo and if it is so, the government will look into it and take appropriate measures.”

However, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said the beggars had the right to live wherever they chose.

He said, “The beggars are citizens of Nigeria and they have the right to live anywhere they want. If they are committing atrocities, people should report the cases to the nearest police station.”

PUNCH Metro reported in February 2022 that the Ogun State Government served a notice to quit to mendicants under the bridge, saying the site was to be redesigned as a recreational centre.

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Fashola: How Asiwaju Bola Tinubu discovered me

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The minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola was 59 years old last Tuesday. The two terms Governor of Lagos State from 29 May 2007 to 29 May 2015 was born on 28 June 1963 in Lagos.

In an interview, Fashola revealed how Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu discovered him.

“That is an invitation to walk down memory lane. I think it must have been 1990 or 1991. He was treasurer in Mobil, then. His office was at the Bookshop House at CMS on Odunlami Street. I didn’t directly meet him. I had seen him at parties, but we never met. At that time, I was a senior associate at the law firm of Sofunde, Osakwe, Ogundipe and Belgore, where I was practising. Wale Tinubu, his nephew, came to join the law firm, then. He was always mentioning “Uncle Bola”, and one day, he said: ‘’let’s go and see my uncle.” We got there and went out to lunch with him. That was then I could say we formally met.

From then on, he would consult us on legal issues and we would help and give him advice. Sometimes, he would just come and say. “See we have this issue, what do you lawyers think?” We ran around and he would always give us pocket money. I think one thing that left some impressions on me was his commitment to his staff and that was symbolized by what I witnessed on a particular day after the Sallah celebration.

He brought Sallah meat to the office and supervised its sharing from floor to floor. As exalted as his office was, he was concerned to ensure that those who could not come to his house, even to the lowest driver, got part of the Sallah meat. I recalled that after the sharing of the meat, he sent someone to aggregate how much it would cost to buy a soft drink for everybody and equally distributed money to them.

The incident left an impression on me and what became a practice when I started observing the killing of rams for Sallah. For me, it speaks of his concern about those working for him,” said Fashola.

“Well, there are many ways to look at it. For me, that kind of statement coming from him puts more pressure on me. I thought that I had seen all the pressure that could come from this experience to be governor of Lagos State. That adds pressure on me in no small measure.

I think how I became governor is public knowledge. Nothing could put pressure on me than the commitment in pursuit of his decision in 2006 that I was the candidate he was endorsing for governor and the cost in terms of stress, disagreement, fights and long-draw emotional arguments. Of course, immediately after I won the election, the biggest pressure was to ensure that I didn’t regret the decision.

One, the people of Lagos State could have said: “We didn’t know the man you have brought and he has turned the state upside down.” There are other sides to it that I would want to keep to myself. As I have said time and time again, he should sit down and write his memoirs so that people may know the story of that election. This is what he should use to explain to Lagosians the offers, the counter offers, and choices he made and why he, as it were, went for broke.

The question to ask is: What was his abiding commitment after eight years as well as questions on who became governor, and who did not? But, in terms of the next step from there, it is to say that it is an enriching experience for our democracy, and not simply about me. It is also about institution building in the sense that I have continued to compare our 13-year journey despite its twists and turns with those that we seek to benchmark ourselves against.”

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Sexagenarian dies as friend steals ATM card, withdraws N700,000

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The family of a 60-year-old man, Isak Wahab, has been thrown into mourning after he reportedly died from shock after an unauthorised withdrawal of N700,000 from his bank account.

His wife, Monsurat, accused his friend, identified only as Ola, of making the withdrawal, which she said led to the death of the sexagenarian.

Monsurat, while speaking to our correspondent during a visit to their residence in the Ikotun area of Lagos State, said Ola stole her husband’s ATM card.

She said, “Ola was a close friend to our family, particularly my husband. He had financial difficulties with his rent and he came to my husband to tell him that he wanted to sell his generator so that he could raise money to pay his rent. My husband told him not to do that and said he (Isak) was expecting payment from our tenants and he could help. My husband then gave him N10,000.

 

“Meanwhile, we did not know that Ola had taken my husband’s ATM card and he withdrew money from it amounting to N700,000. He withdrew the money in tranches of N200,000, N300,000 and another N200,000.”

The deceased’s son, Ajibola, alleged that Ola stole his father’s ATM card after he (Isak) became intoxicated while they drank alcohol together.

He said the case was reported at the Ikotun Police Station for investigation, adding that the suspect disappeared after he was accused of being responsible for the death.

He said, “Last week Thursday, my dad was not alright, but I felt it was just ordinary malaria or a small illness. But later, I was told that it was serious and I had to call my siblings. We later learnt from our mother that our father was defrauded by Mr Ola.

“My father died on Friday and we buried him on Saturday. After his burial, we went to his friend’s house, confronted him and while arguing with him, we seized his phone. Since that day, we have not seen him.

“As I speak to you, I have his phone with me and we have reported the case at the Ikotun Police Station. He had issues and needed money and our father promised to help and gave him N10,000.

“Now, Mr Ola took our father’s ATM card, went to a PoS operator, and transferred about N700,000 from his account to other accounts. When our father saw it, he was deeply sad and he died because he never expected that his best friend would do that to him.”

Our correspondent visited Ola’s house in the community, but he was nowhere to be found.

However, his younger brother, identified simply as Ifa Dollars, absolved the suspect of blame in the incident.

He said, “I heard what they said my brother did, but I don’t know anything about it. If my brother was involved in any way, they are the ones that know what they have been doing. But he has no hand in the death.”

Asked the whereabouts of Ola, he said, “I don’t know his whereabouts.”

The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, said nobody reported the incident to the police.

He said, “I have not heard anything about the case but as soon as we get information on the matter, I will contact you.”

He had yet to get back to our correspondent as of press time.

However, the deceased’s family insisted that the case was reported at the Ikotun Police Station on June 23, 2022.

PUNCH

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Policemen allegedly kill driver, motor boy in Ogun

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Many travellers plying Abeokuta-Papa-Sango-Lagos road on Monday were stranded when some yet-to-be-identified men of the Nigeria Police Force, Ogun State Command, shot dead a truck driver and his motor boy.

The incident reportedly occurred along the Itori area of the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway.

Our correspondent gathered that the policemen in their patrol van met the victim driving against traffic to avoid the bad portion of the road in Ewekoro Local Government, the same offence the cops were also said to be guilty of.

An eyewitness said, “When they saw the truck driver, they told him to turn back. The driver was reluctant and they shot his tyres.

 

“This led to an altercation and at the end of the day, the policemen shot dead the truck driver and his motor boy.

“That was why the youths of Itori blocked the road to protest the unjust killing of the driver and his colleague.”

The development made some motorists and commuters stranded for hours while commercial activities in the area were brought to halt.

It was gathered that for hours, commuters were held in traffic which started building up around 4pm.

Many motorists resorted to using bushy alternative routes, where they were compelled to pay some money to the area boys in the area for access.

When contacted, the Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, confirmed that there was an incident in Itori.

Oyeyemi, however, said he was yet to be fully briefed about the incident by the Divisional Police Officer in Itori.

PUNCH

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