The Beggars’ Den


Walking or driving down the streets of Lagos, it’s no longer a strange trend to see beggars parade themselves in search of alms. In response to their most times very compelling cry, sympathizers hand them different denominations of the Naira but this however doesn’t stop them from calling out to the very next passerby. Let’s not even talk about the women who would go as far as using their infants/children as objects of pity just to get attention.

There seem to be no limits to the practice. Nowadays, it is common place to find such individuals in highbrow areas of the city properly dressed and well spoken who will BOLDLY, (please do not ignore the emphasis) walk up to a fellow passerby and ask to be helped sometimes with little or no courtesy at all. They do not even take into consideration if their supposed “helper” has the means to do so and this goes to say without mincing words, some beggars are often “richer” than their supposed helpers.

Recently, stories of unsuspecting alms givers becoming victims of robbery are being told in different quarters. They nag, trail their victims and some even wait for them by the ATM machines! Motor parks are their natural habitat and if one pays attention to detail, they would discover they have given help to someone who claimed to be “stranded” more than once.

One cannot help but ask what the reasons for these dubious acts could be. Is the government and society to blame? Why would a fully fledged man/woman without any form of disability make it a habit to ask his fellow struggling man (yes struggling because everyone has his own battles) for help? How does one identify a beggar who is genuinely in need of help? Does ignoring a beggar’s plea make you insensitive to the needs of others?

Truth be told, like corruption, the means to curbing the practice of begging may not be adequately effected. It is therefore left for every individual to be on the lookout trusting your instincts, your God or whatever it is you believe in, to help you decide whether or not you should offer assistance to them. No one deserves to be repaid with evil for good. So next time you are walking or driving down the road and a beggar approaches you, ask yourself…who you epp? I rest my case.

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