Corporate begging may be a nuisance but slowly becoming acceptable in our societies as a considerable number of people have told of their experiences with street tricksters (corporate beggars).
In recent times, Lagos has become a home to different shades of beggars who deploy strategic means of collecting money from their victims.
Newsbreak,ng spoke to some Lagos residents about their experiences with street tricksters popularly known as corporate beggars.
Henry Ademola, who works with a Public Relations company, said he had fallen victim to the tricksters repeatedly adding that the frequency had led him to believe that a large percentage of people begging for alms are not genuine.
“A woman with a baby strapped to her back approached me in the Magodo area of Lagos saying her wallet had been stolen when she was rushing to board a bus. She told me she was heading to Ajah before the incident happened. I was forced to part with N500 when she started crying. I even offered to see her off to the bus stop but she declined.
“Another happened at Ikeja bus stop. An elderly man walked up to me and said he was a labourer in a factory on Oba Akran and not been paid for days. He begged me to give him some money no matter how small. He even offered that I buy him food if I doubt his story and don’t want to give him cash. I simply waved him off.”
“Again, a woman approached me on Allen Avenue and pleaded with me to give her money. She said she was hungry and needed to buy food. I waved her off.
“At Ikeja GRA, by Rennaisance Hotel, some women approached me as I was using an ATM and begged for money. I could not give them N1000, so I gave them N20, they just laughed and walked away.
“At Ikeja Under Bridge, a man approached me and said he needed N500. He didn’t give me a reason, I told him off and he got abusive.
“Another happened at the Ikotun LCDA, where I had gone for an assignment. A man wearing a pink suit and white shoes approached me and said he needed transport fare because his uncle, whom he had come to see was not around.
“In the Egbeda area, I’ve been approached twice by the same boy, of around 16 years old. He claimed to be a porter who has not made money for the day. He usually pleads for money to buy food. He prayed for me that I’d get promoted at work and buy the latest Mercedes Benz car,” Ademola said.
Kayode Ashaolu, a media practitioner, said he couldn’t tell if the beggar who approached him was genuine or not due to the condition she was in. He said: “I met the woman simply known as “Mama Grace” at Ojota BRT Terminal.
“She said she started begging in June 2017 in order to feed her child after her husband left her with a three months old child. She also said her family refused to help because she had been advised against marrying the man.
“The woman said her baby, who is now eleven months old always pass the night in front of shops in the Ojota area of the metropolis.
“She however, said she would quit begging people for money if she got a menial job.”
Also, Femi Adenaike, a student of National Institute of Journalism, NIJ, said one Charles Ajayi from Kogi State, claimed he had a skill but prefers to beg when he doesn’t have money. Adenaike quoted the man as saying: “I do Plaster of Paris, POP, work. I am just coming back from work but I am stranded here. It is the situation of the country that pushed me out. ‘E go better, e go better’ is what we were told till they gave birth to my father. If I don’t have anything on me, instead of meeting friends or begging people very close to me, I prefer coming out to beg. I know by the time I speak to three to four people, someone will help me.
“I have slept under the bridge several times, especially when I am stranded. If I have money, I do help people too. And when I don’t have, God will send people to help me. I can’t steal, I can’t tell lies.”
A social media enthusiast, Bola Sylva’s story was slightly different from the others. She said the beggar that approached her was an elderly man, who held a black polythene bag and looked a little unkempt. She added that the beggar asked for a tuber of yam and not money as she had expected.
She quoted him as saying: “I am Elijah. I live at Anifowose. I work at a pure water producing company on Community Road, Allen Ikeja and I have three children. I am not asking you for money o. I just want you to buy me at least a tuber of Yam. Anything you can buy for me that is edible, I will really appreciate.
“I had approached someone by first greeting him ‘Good evening’ and he said what is good about the evening. The other one that I moved close to shifted as if I was smelling. God will bless you for giving me audience.”
Sylva said she had turned to walk away from the slightly bent beggar when he said: “My wife used to fry Akara (fried bean cake). She had gone through operation and all her money was spent. That is why I am looking for money to re-establish her. I earn 14, 000 per month. I don't need money just buy me something to eat.”