Posted by Garba Ahmed, Kaduna | 11 May 2016 | 2,365 times
Hundreds of beggars today protested in Kaduna against the law banning street begging in the state recently passed by the State House of Assembly. They gave the government of Mallam Nasir El-Rufai seven days ultimatum to withdraw the law or they will occupy the Government House.
The beggars, who stormed the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Kaduna State Secretarial located along Muhammadu Buhari Way, said they are ready to sacrifice their lives to endure withdrawal of the controversial law.
The beggars, comprising the blind, deaf, crippled, young and old, and women with their babies, said nobody can stop them from begging without providing them with alternatives.
The protesters raised placards with inscriptions such as: “El-Rufai before stopping street begging pass state disability bill”, “Begging can never be stopped by persons with disability in Kaduna”, “El-Rufai fulfil your campaign promises before stopping begging in Kaduna”, “Give us 10 percent job opportunity as you promised before stopping street begging”, among others.
Governor El-Rufai had last week assented to the bill to ban street begging and hawking in the state.
Commenting on the protests, Chairman, Concerned Citizens with Disabilities, Comrade Rilwanu Mohammed Abdullahi, said they will soon occupy the state government house if after seven days they state governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai refused to pass the bill to set up a disability commission in the state.
“We don’t like street begging but we have no choice than to beg for arms to take care of our family members. Let the governor pass the bill to set of disability commission in the state.
“If the government failed to do that within seven days from today we will continue with the protest and take over the government house until our demands are met.
“We are disappointed with the governors and state assembly lawmaker’s action on banning street begging. They deceive us because they failed to pass the bill on Disability Commission in the state which they promised to do.”
Directly addressing Governor El-Rufai in a statement, Comrade Abdullahi, former National Vice Chairman of JONAPWD, insisted that the passage of the street begging and hawking bill in the absence of adequate provisions made for the street beggars contradict the agreed process reached between them and the government that solutions would be proffered before the law comes into effect.
He wrote: “We are therefore writing to register our concern before you and the State Assembly categorically that the signing and passage of the street begging and hawking bill without our bill signed with a commission in line with Article 4 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) will spell more hardship for our members.
“Before the 2015 general elections you mentioned during your campaign that if elected as governor of the state you will make life comfortable for our members by signing our bill with a commission.
“Again at a town hall meeting with stakeholders and representatives of different organisations and community leaders last year in which Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) and JNI the bill issue and street begging and hawking was tabled.
“The assurance you gave us again was that street begging and hawking won’t be banned until solutions are preferred or put in place to improve the living conditions of our members.”
•Photo shows Governor El-Rufai.
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