By Peter Okolie
Awka – The Anambra Government on Wednesday donated N50,000 cash and some items to each of the seven persons caught feigning blindness and using underage children to beg for alms in the state.
Mrs Ndidi Mezue, the Commissioner for Women and Children Affairs, presented the donations to them in Awka, warning them to keep off street-begging.
Mezue urged them to set up small scale businesses of their choice with the cash donations and improve their lives with the food items.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the items included cartons of noodles, bags of rice, laundry products, beverages and clothes.
“Anyone caught in the future begging in this manner would be handed over to the police for prosecution,’’ the commissioner warned.
She told residents to be cautious of type of persons they offered alms, stressing that many of those parading the streets as handicapped were mere pretenders.
Responding on behalf others, a beneficiary simply identified as Nneka commended the state government for the gesture.
She gave the assurance that they would use the money and other items donated to them prudently and stay off street begging.
NAN recalls that the commissioner had on Nov. 28, effected arrest of beggars for feigning visual impairment and begging with the aid of underage children.
NAN also recalls that areas raided by the commissioner in company of some social workers from her ministry included Amawbia Roundabout, Awka, Upper Iweka Flyover and Onitsha.
Before then, the state government had carried out sanitisation exercise to evacuate all beggars off the streets of Awka and other major cities.
The commissioner said the raid was done in line with the directive of Gov. Willie Obiano to create a decent environment for residents of the state ahead of the yuletide season. (NAN)