By Ikenna Nwokedi
The Anambra State Ministry of Women and Social Welfare on Wednesday, 24th May 2023 raided various locations of street beggars and child hawkers in a bid to clear the administrative capital of the state and environs off street beggars and out of school children hawkers.
The joint task force from the Anambra State Ministry of Women and Social Welfare in conjunction with Operation Clean and Healthy Anambra (OCHA) Brigade were able to clear the street and apprehend more than fifty street beggars and child hawkers from the mission. Areas visited during the raid were Aroma, Regina Caeli junction, UNIZIK Temporary Site, Kwata Junction, Amawbia Bypass, Eke Awka Market and St. Patricks Cathedral junction.
According to the Ministry, the essence of their action was to sanitize the street and restore free flow of traffic as well as to rescue out of school children from the negative acts with the aim of achieving His Excellency, Prof. Charles Soludo’s vision for a clean, livable, green and prosperous megacity agenda.
In an interview with reporters, the Honourable Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare, Hon. Ify Obinabo stated that the case of out of school child hawking in Awka and environs have grown at an alarming rate while there are cases of child labour and exploitations which contravenes the Child’s Rights Act.
Hon. Obinabo averred that the present administration has zero tolerance to child labour of any form and the Anambra State Government is leaving no stones unturned in her effort towards ensuring that any child engaging in any form of street hawking during official school hours would be apprehended and sent back to school. Obinabo warned parents and guardians to be wary of actions and inactions that promotes such act as the present administration is poised to nip the act in the bud.
Some of the beggars, Uju Obiea, Ifeoma Chukwu and Afam Okeke informed that the quest to source for daily living, little or no financial assistance and lack of skilled labour were responsible for their actions. They promised to quit alms seeking if their children are enrolled into schools and they get a good source of livelihood.
Some passersby, Tochukwu Anigbogu and Ernest Chukwura, eulogized the Ministry and the State Government for its efforts in restoring sanity in Awka by raiding the street of beggars and child hawkers. They urged them not to relent in their quest towards restoring order and protecting the future of the children.