Kicking out street begging: Community leaders push for taskforce

The taskforce that recently mobilised and helped to remove many migrant beggars from the streets of Accra have called for support to sustain their activities.
They want the Ablekuma Central Municipal Assembly to formally recognise and institutionalise their activities so as to help sustain the fight against street beggars.

Community leaders in the Ablekuma municipality, many of whom are members of the taskforce, have called for a concerted effort to sustain the fight against street begging following the removal and deportation of over 1,600 migrant beggars to Niger where they mostly hail from.



An opinion leader and Chief of the Adarawa Clan in the municipality, Alhaji Hussein Mahama Waziri, said in an interview that the formation of a taskforce could help sustain the fight against street begging in the city.

Early this month, the government collaborated with the Embassy of Niger in Accra to repatriate over 1,600 beggars to Niamey in Niger with plans to send back even more illegal migrants.

“They are a street nuisance and they have to be returned home immediately”, Alhaji Mahama said in an interview.


Public concern
The beggars, who arrive in Ghana without proper documents, are often seen in large numbers on the streets of Accra. Their presence has for many years been a matter of public concern.

Mostly from Niger, they have in recent times besieged some streets of Accra, occupying medians and traffic intersections of some busy streets to harass motorists and pedestrians for money.

The presence of migrant beggars on the streets have angered some opinion and community leaders who have launched a sustained campaign to get them returned to their home country.

The places where the children are mostly seen are the Graphic Road, Lapaz, Achimota, Kasoa Old Barrier traffic lights, University of Professional Studies (UPSA) junction, the Accra Mall, Adjiringano, Shiashie near Emmanuel Eye Clinic, and some ceremonial streets.

Another community leader in Sabon Zongo, a suburb of Accra where most of the beggars operate from, Chief Amadu Maga said they were collaborating with the relevant agencies to ensure that a taskforce was permanently in place to rid their community of beggars.


A spokesperson for Nigerien Embassy in Accra, Abdallah Mohamed Hassan, told Accra 100.5 FM on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, that the embassy had engaged the government of Ghana to have the beggars, who are Nigerien nationals, removed from the streets of Accra.

Partnership
According to him, through the partnership with the government of Ghana, some 1,000 beggars made up of children among others, had been mobilised and would be duly repatriated in accordance with migration regulations of Ghana.

In December, last year, the Caretaker Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, led officials of the ministry to collect data on the street children and their guardians, lodgings, means of operation and the age range of children involved in begging for alms.

The step was to use data collected to take initiatives as well as seek partnership with the Nigerien Embassy in Ghana to rid the streets and to protect the well-being of the children.

A travelling document of one of the beggars. Picture: Suleiman Mustapha

The monitoring exercise was part of the activities of the ministry’s initiative, “Street Connected Children Project” to promote free flow of pedestrians and motorists on the streets.



Ms Dapaah during the monitoring exercise said it was illegal for them to be begging on the streets, adding that the ministry would not tolerate that conduct.

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