Poverty is bad! Mrs. Tawakalitu Aregbesola looks dejected, worried and disappointed perhaps for has act that betrays her son and womanhood.
40yrs old Mrs Aregbesola is one of the women arrested by officials of the Lagos State government for using their children to beg for alms in return for stipends. According to her, the person who hires her child always pays her between N1,000 and N1,500 daily.
The woman said she had four other children. According to her, the first two attend school somewhere in Ikotun area. She said: “I stay at Ijora Olopa though I am from Ibadan in Oyo State. I work with a food vendor, who pays me N300 daily. The eldest of my children is 11 years old."
She is now being detained in Alausa Police Station alongside other four women.
Two of the women are biological mothers of the rescued infants, while two others were commercial beggars from the northern part of the country.
Mrs Aregbesola, who was the only Yoruba woman among the suspects, interpreted for others, who spoke in Hausa and couldn’t explain why they ventured into the illegal business. She claimed that she and other women release their babies around 5pm and get them back with money by 7pm daily.
But when asked if it was possible for the beggars to pay her N1,500 daily for using the baby for two hours, she kept mum. Two of the women, Hadiza Nosiru and Salamotu Salisu, hail from Jigawa State.
The infants were taken to the Rehabilitation and Training Centre at Majidun, Ikorodu for shelter as the government vowed to immediately commence investigation and possibly prosecute the women.
Speaking on the issue, Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, said the government would not condone such heartless attitude. The commissioner said that efforts would be intensified to get rid of street begging in the state.