ABUJA: North-West Dominates Population, As FCTA Repatriates 217 Destitute Persons

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The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) on Sunday repatriated 217 destitute persons, including street beggars and vagabonds, back to their various states of origin.

The FCTA had earlier evacuated the destitute persons from the streets of Abuja.

The numbers of those repatriated were dominated by persons from the states in Nigeria’s North-Western geopolitical zone.

The states are Katsina (President Muhammadu Buhari’s home state), Kaduna, Jigawa, Kano, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi states.

Niger State is the sole representative of North-Central geopolitical zone in the ignoble list, while the duo of Abia and Imo states jointly bear the burden of shame for the South-East.

Oil-rich Delta State is the only state of Nigeria’s South-South on the list.

No one hailing from any of the states of the North-East and South-West zones, respectively, was listed among the evacuees.

The Director of Department, Social Welfare Services, Social Development Secretariat (SDS) of the FCTA, Alhaji Sani Amar-Rabe, explained that the repatriation was in compliance with the order by the FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Aliyu and the Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr. Olusade Adesola.

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), at the FCT Vocational and Rehabilitation Centre in Bwari Area Council, Amar-Rabe added that the Department of Social Services had been instructed to rid the city of human and environmental nuisances.

The Director had spoken to NAN shortly after dispatching officials of the department to transport the destitute persons to their various states.

He stated that it was the responsibility of the FCTA to ensure that those evacuated from the streets were repatriated to their various states.

Amar-Rabe said: “We are here in respect of repatriation of the apprehended destitute, street beggars, street boys and vagabonds who were profiled, their health challenges were equally attended to, and they show no interest in learning vocational skills.

“They only show interest to be out to be attended to what they consider to be a liberty sort of, to continue doing their destitution.

“But those who have good mindset, embrace skills acquisition for empowerment. So, that is the purpose of our coming to this centre today.

“Today, we don’t have many; they are just 217 beggars and street boys that are to be repatriated, mostly to Katsina, Kaduna, Niger, Jigawa, Kano, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi states.

“And this time around we have some from Abia, Imo and Delta states.”

Amar-Rabe revealed that the FCT Minister of State, Aliyu, had been in contact with some of the state governments through their liaison offices, to ensure that the affected states were more responsive in addressing and managing the repatriated destitute and beggars.

“What we noticed from some of the destitute and beggars as well is that they consider the FCT safer and economically viable, especially those of the North-West and the North-East.

“So, people from these zones move to Abuja for survival and some of them, we discovered that begging and destitution has become an attitude to them.

“The street boys that constitute menace and defaced the Federal Capital City, some of whom, at a particular point in time, manifest into another threat to the security of the residents, especially those that do sleep under bridges claiming to be destitute, but most of them are criminals,” Amar-Rabe said.

He called on the FCT residents, especially the well-to-do, to desist from giving alms and charity to the street beggars “because it is encouraging them to continue to remain on the streets and constitute nuisance to the city”.

He said: “We have been on that advocacy through different media, and we are appealing to the media, both print and electronic, to continue to enlighten the public about the negative impact of patronising street beggars.

“We have clusters of persons with disabilities in Karon Majigi community on the Airport Road and we have many orphanages; anybody who wishes to donate can go to such places and give charity.

“Also, in Yangoji, Kwali Area Council, by the roadside, there is Alheri Special Village, the village is mainly for persons affected with leprosy and their families.

“It is a very large cluster with a very large population of humans who are indigents and deserve such charity.”

Also, speaking, the Principal, FCT Vocational and Rehabilitation Centre, Bwari, Malam Bala Dantsoho, said that most of those that were repatriated are untrainable.

Therefore, according to him, they have to be repatriated to their various states.

Dantsoho, who decried the proliferation of street beggars and destitute in the FCT, urged state governments to be more proactive in tackling destitution.

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