OPINION: Ban On Street Begging in Kano is Good News

OPINION: Ban On Street Begging in Kano is Good News

Few reports could be more cheering than the report of Kano State government banning street begging and even proposing to extradite beggars from the state to their states of origin. It takes a lot of guts and a strong political will to contemplate such a policy. Other states, where begging has become a nuisance and an annoying barrier to children's education, would do well to take a similar step for the sake of our collective sanity and security.

OPINION: Ban On Street Begging in Kano is Good News

Begging is strongly frowned upon in Islam. Those who allow it or even remotely encourage it do so for their own personal gains and greed; they are the people that have deliberately decided to misinterpret the teachings of Islam. In fact, there are people who have decided to make a career out of it. Of course, this desire stems from sheer laziness, aversion to hard work and a wanton zeal for exploitation of fellow human beings.

There are, however, those who have been forced to engage in this degrading, undignified act because the system has failed them and they cannot find succour anywhere else. This last category applies mostly to children who are forced into almajiranci by their parents or guardians under the guise of seeking religious knowledge. In most cases, it is an abdication of parental and community responsibility, a fallout of a western civilisation that has failed to integrate fully a society that was already built on its own principles. While it was convenient for the colonialists to adapt its structures for indirect rule, it was not considered important to adapt those same structures to western ideals for a robust and productive system; instead, there was an attempt to destroy existing institutions with great potential.

The whole system of begging actually found an outlet as a result of the colonial system exploiting it for itself, and the succeeding independent governments failing to domesticate laws for the purpose of our collective development.

Nevertheless, the menace that begging has become cannot be excused. It is the duty of government to address this problem especially as concerns those children who, for no fault of theirs, are exposed very early in life to all kinds of abuse and difficulty.

The government and people of Kano State should back up this pronouncement with a legislation that will holistically address child abuse and make "integrated" education compulsory for every child of school age. The world is changing; only foolish people would refuse to change with it and then be left behind. One of the ways to discourage begging is by letting potential victims have enough knowledge to help them appreciate the choices before them and to make the right choice in life.

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