As Christians celebrate Easter across the world, stakeholders in Ondo State have called for stringent actions to end Child street begging and hawking. These thoughts were expressed on Kikelomo Family Radio Show on Crest 87.7FM by concerned citizens who observed that Yoruba race is known for being hardworking unlike the prevailing attitude of street begging. Even more worrisome is the dimension of using children who go about seeking alms under the instructions of adults guardians or even parents.
Dr Waheed Folayan in his words noted that Islam frowns at street begging as there are stipulations of how Zakat must be observed. He expressed fear over the outcomes of children used as begging aid or children who have turned street beggars as he noted this will have negative impact on their education and future.
Father Joseph Ogodo, a catholic priest noted that even though alms giving is a pillar of lenten season yet alms must be given in a way that upholds the dignity of human person. He noted that opportunities must be given to poor and vulnerable to come out of poverty and not just alms which is short termed. “Children must not be exposed to hard street life which may lead to exposure to vices but rather given education which is their inalienable right”, he said.
Barr Bola Joel-Ogundadegbe, the state FIDA chairman said the child’s right act which is operational in the state does not allow child hawking and street begging. She called on state Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development to rise up to the occasion to commence raid of children found begging as well as those hawking. She further observed that children are increasingly exposed to street begging while blind men and women use school age children as begging guide during school hours.
Several caller expressed dismay at the rise and dimensions of the act which they noted will rise exponentially if not addressed saying Child Street beggars are exposed to risks such as exposure to vices, rape and assault, teenage pregnancy, kidnapping for rituals and even violence.
The radio presenter, Mrs Olamide Falana called on government to support the task force against child hawking and child street beggars stressing that when such children are apprehended, the parents will desist from use of children while the future of the children can be assured through proper education.