Sanwo-Olu Vows to End Street Begging in Lagos, Targets Crime Reduction


The Lagos State Government, under the present administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has embarked on zero tolerance against street begging, vowing not to tolerate the act henceforth in any part of the state.

A special operation led by the Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr. Mobolaji Ogunlende, resulted in the removal of at least 50 street beggars during a “Special Rescue Operations” collaboration with the Lagos State Task Force in the Lekki axis.

According to Ogunlende, “The act of begging or using babies to solicit alms is not part of our religion or culture. It doesn’t support the socio-economic growth of any state. “It is counterproductive because some of the so-called beggars have been discovered to be involved in criminality.”

He continued, “Before embarking on resuscitating the “Special Rescue Operations” primarily aimed at enforcing the relevant sections of the State Government Laws as well as the Child Rights Law banning begging, the Ministry had carried out massive advocacy and sensitisation to help Lagosians, especially the public-spirited ones, know what to do concerning helping the less privileged in the state.

“Street begging has been banned in Kano, Kaduna and other states in Nigeria.

“So why not Lagos State? We advise those who want to help the less privileged among us to take their gift items be it cash or materials to our Homes or Centres designated to help the needy.”

The Permanent Secretary, Pharm (Mrs.) Toyin Oke-Osanyintolu, highlighted the decision to conduct the “Special Rescue Operations” following reports of residents being harassed by street beggars.

“Series of reports reaching the Ministry from Lagosians bordering on being harassed by beggars on the street prompted us to embark on this exercise to sanitize the State.

“Every Lagosian irrespective of religion or tribe deserves a safe environment to live, work or do business without molestation. This we will achieve by showing zero tolerance for street begging,” Oke-Osanyintolu stated.

The Permanent Secretary, warned as many people as are in the habit of using babies to solicit alms to desist from the act and engage in legitimate business because if caught would be made to face the full wrath of the law. 

On his part, the Chairman of Lagos State Taskforce, Chief Superintendent of Police, CSP, Shola Jejeloye, who led the enforcement of the special rescue operations maintained, “The task of ridding Lagos State of street begging is non-negotiable. It is going to be a continuous exercise.

“We have decided to do it in broad daylight for Lagosians to get the message that there is no room for street begging in the state. 

“It is part of our statutory responsibilities to support the enforcement of any law enacted by the State House of Assembly for the good of everyone. 

“We are ready to collaborate with every Ministry, Department or Agency in this regard. 

“During the Rescue Operations which took place in the Lekki axis of the State over 50 beggars were taken off the streets.”


Assembly sets to outlaw begging

In response to Abiodun Orekoya’s motion and that of his colleagues, Obasa highlighted the past unsuccessful efforts by previous administrations in the state to address street begging.

 Consequently, he emphasized the importance of enacting a law that criminalizes street begging and imposes penalties on those who provide monetary support to beggars on the streets.

According to Obasa, “When we address the source, then we can curb it. When you go on the road, you find children between the ages of five and six begging.

“It means there are established groups of people benefitting from this. They warehouse and provide for them.

“Beyond the child rights law, we should come up with another law that speaks to begging and giving. We must come up with genuine laws and institutions that handle begging.”

The speaker proposed that the envisioned law should establish a center for those wanting to give alms, ensuring that the contributions reach those in need. He emphasized the creation of a fund managed by trustworthy individuals to assist those in need.

“The law will create a fund to be managed by people with integrity so that if you are in need, you would go there,” he said. Obasa added,

“While this will help people fulfil their religious beliefs about almsgiving, it will also help curb street begging, reduce crime on the road and promote greater responsibility among residents.”

He expressed concern that beggars on the roads could compromise the state’s smart city status, leading to hindered movement and increased criminal activities such as drug peddling and theft from motorists.

Obasa questioned the origin of young children, aged five or six, traveling to Lagos from other states, suggesting possible sponsorship and accommodation by certain individuals. 

Advocating for a comprehensive solution, he emphasized discouraging direct giving to beggars as part of tackling the issue at its source.

Additionally, Obasa urged local government chairmen to devise strategies for managing street trading rather than simply expelling traders. 

He questioned the rationale behind expensive shops and emphasized the need for thoughtful planning to accommodate traders without displacing them entirely.