In Nigeria, especially Lagos, giving alms to the street beggar is an everyday occurrence as there is the traditional belief that it brings good luck, and the religious consider it a form of obligation.
7 Types of Beggars on the Streets of Lagos
Beggars on a Lagos street
There have been debates over the years, however, on the cause and effect of giving handouts to these beggars in the streets. The key argument is that giving to them endangers their lives in many forms and also makes getting them off the streets extra difficult.
No doubt, it is difficult to grapple the distressing sight of fellow humans living in horrid conditions, but in truth, it may be easier to weigh the situation of the beggar before you give in to your desire to bless them with alms. Some of these drifters are no longer just individuals garbed in dirty filthy clothes sitting around the roads with their arms outstretched, begging for alms; They are now also camouflaged as regular people walking the street, colonizing every part of the city and covertly harassing common citizens in a bid to satiate their greed or grow their begging trade.
Of course, there is always the rotten apple in every barrel and seeing as it is one week to Christmas – the season of sharing love and giving, you may want to close your eyes to the bad lot and give to these street beggars anyways…but before you do that, if you are in Lagos, read on to know the different kind of beggars there are, that way you are informed enough to know which is more deserving of gifts.
1. The Destitute Beggar
This is the classic beggar. The destitute beggar is the dirty, haggard, impoverished and pitiable soul lodged on the roadsides or under the bridges without a home or source of living. These set of people are unable to participate and compete in the workforce, and do not have anyone providing their welfare. Worse, they have no clue on where to go to for help, so resort to handout from strangers for survival. It is usually difficult to pass by these people without dropping a coin or note; however, you can do better by pointing them to organizations (charities and churches) that can offer them long-term restoration.
2. The Disabled Beggar
Have you ever been trapped in Lagos traffic and a tap on your side window reveals a physically disabled citizen asking for sustenance? The experience is usually heart wrenching as you are most times compelled to wonder: How did he live through his youth? Does he not have a family? What were his ambitions? The disabled beggar is another classic, and usually includes an amputee or someone infested with an extensive or terminal disease. Sometimes, these beggars sit in groups and usually have their ‘pimp’ not too far away. You really should not turn your back on these people.
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