OPINION:Starving the Child Begging Industry to Death

There is a deadly and abusive industry growing rapidly in Nigeria. It’s the child begging industry.

It’s not unusual to see children with begging bowls or twins strapped to their mothers’ backs while they ask you to bless the twins.

I think it needs to be said that when you give children alms on the road or give those women carrying twins and begging with them money, you are not being compassionate, you are funding an industry that exploits and abuses children. You are supporting child abuse.

There’s an entire industry out there that uses children to beg for money, feed them, and pay them at the end of the day. You are helping to keep that industry that abuses children alive with that kind of compassion and it needs to stop.

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When you chase those children off or refuse to give them anything, those around may think you’re not kind, but you don’t owe them any explanation. If you have time, you can explain why to them, but if you don’t, let them think what they want.

We should focus on not being the wrong kind of compassionate person. Don’t help keep a child abuse industry alive.

The government too needs to shift attention to that industry and arrest those behind it.

Children are a no-go area and should remain so. Poverty is never an excuse to turn children to beggars. Any industry under any guise that seems to turn children to alms beggars should be promptly shut down by the government.

While the government gathers its nerves, it’s instructive to ask that the citizenry deliberately refuse to give those children money and even if possible, arrest them and take them to the police so that they can point out those sending them out.

James Ogunjimi

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A season Journalist, philanthropist and founder, Concerned Nation Builders Initiative (CNI), an NGO.