Influx of child beggars, others worry Onitsha residents as they seek gov’t intervention

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By Sunny A. David, Onitsha
The increasing number of beggars at some of the pedestrian bridges across the State is becoming a source of worry to the citizenry.
Our correspondent who visited some of the bridges in Onitsha metropolis occupied by these beggars discovered an increase in the number of child beggars with their mothers.
According to the report, at Uga Junction pedestrian bridge which has a roof and other coverings around it, children from six months to eleven years, were seen with their able bodied Mothers soliciting for alms and on sighting our correspondent they covered themselves with Umbrellas to avoid being captured.
Some passersby including Messrs Ogonna Nwosu, Bolanle Omo, Ifeanyi Okoro, Vitalis Ezerue and a Nurse, Chinyere Emeka condemned the attitude of using children in soliciting for alms regretting that they have subjected the children to child labour under the scorching sun.
They regretted that their presence is defacing the aesthetics of the area adding that the situation might have adverse affect on the future of these children and called on the State government to wade in, to save the children from being a threat to the society in the near future.
Also at the MCC axis of the Onitsha-Enugu Express Way Pedestrian Bridge, the story was the same as most of the women were with about three to four children from eleven years downwards.
When our correspondent confronted them, they claimed to have fled from Abakiliki, Ebonyi State due to communal clashes where they lost all their belongings.
For little Miss Chisom, acquiring Education and being useful to her parents have been her dream and pleaded for assistance.
A woman with two children who refused to disclose her identity said she was forced into begging with her children, because she was chased away from her village and her other two children forcefully taken away from her by undisclosed persons stating however that she is not married.
Some passersby including Chioma and Christopher Edeoga described the act as child abuse which according to them will have negative effect on the children while others were of the opinion that the children were not theirs biologically.

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