Hundreds of beggars who were evacuated from the streets by the Abuja Environmental Protection Board and taken to the Bwari Rehabilitation Centre have returned to the roads to beg for alms.
Many of the recalcitrant beggars have been seen along the Zuba-Kubwa highway, Wuse, Jabi and in other parts of Abuja begging for money from residents.
Our correspondent gathered that the beggars, most of whom were from the northern states, were not comfortable with the discipline and strict rules at the rehabilitation centre.
The AEPB Deputy Director, Nasir Danmallam, told our correspondent on Tuesday that over 861 homeless people, including beggars, were removed from the streets between January and April this year.
Out of the number, he explained that 228 were taken for rehabilitation while the rest were repatriated to their home states in collaboration with the state government, while others were released to their families after signing an undertaking that the culprits would no longer beg on the streets.
He expressed dismay over the return of the beggars to the streets, adding that the AEPB was aware of the situation and was working to enforce its mandate of ridding the FCT of miscreants and other undesirable elements.
Danmallam said, “In January, we removed 210 beggars from the streets and sent 37 for rehabilitation; In February, we removed 192 persons and took 38 to Bwari for rehabilitation, while some of them were repatriated to their home states by the social development secretariat.
“In March 78 beggars were taken for rehabilitation out of 281 that was evacuated from the streets and in April, 178 were arrested and 75 were taken for rehabilitation while the rest were either sent back to their states or handed over to their family members.”
The deputy director said the beggars were aggressive and volatile, adding that members of the public also did not make the AEPB job easier as they often prevented the officials from arresting the beggars and other homeless persons.
“We have been seeing pockets of them (beggars) and when we get them the second time, we take them to Bwari rehabilitation centre. They are very aggressive; some of them have stabbed our boys in the course of arresting them. The public also show unnecessary sympathy so we have obstruction from the members of the public,” he noted