Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Why We Deported 67 Citizens from Lagos State - Fashola's Aide

In reaction to the alleged criticisms of Lagos State deportation of no fewer than 67 Nigerian citizens from the state to Onitsha, Anambra State, the Lagos State Government has responded to saying the exercise was continuous as it started the practice of expelling beggars and destitutes rescued from the streets back to their states of origin in a bid to rid the streets of beggars and the mentally-challenged.

The Special Adviser to Governor Fashola on Youths and Social Development, Dr. Enitan Dolapo Badru, revealed to newsmen that so far, at least 1,708 beggars and destitutes had been expelled from Lagos just as he noted that normal international standard requires the state to reunite them with their families.


“The end result is to reunite them back with their families. We are not repatriating them out of Lagos, we are reuniting them with their families because once we rescue them, we cannot as a government, hold a child under the age of 18 in custody without parental or guardian’s consent. We found out that a lot of children on the streets of Lagos come from outside the state thinking that Lagos is an Eldorado. It is unfortunate that many of them are underage and very vulnerable because they can be introduced to so many vices.

“When we rescue them, we try as much as possible to carry out social investigation to know where they actually come from and why they absconded in the first place. And this takes time, because most of them don’t usually tell the truth since they don’t want to go back home. Once we have them in our custody, we must take a Court Order to keep them since the law provides for that and we cannot keep them indefinitely, so we still need to send them back to their parents. And our practice is to get in touch with the social welfare services of their respective states, which would in turn get in touch with the families,” he said.

According to Badru, in the last one year, a total number of 3,114 beggars/destitute/mentally-challenged have been rescued in day and night operations with 87 per cent (2,695) of them taken to the Rehabilitation and Training Centre, Owutu, Ikorodu, where the state government has made provisions for facilities to help in turning their lives around, while the mentally-unstable are given medical attention.

The expelled Nigerian citizens were reportedly brought to Onitsha on Wednesday at about 3.00am in four buses, escorted by anti-riot policemen; a move that has generated widespread condemnation and outrage.

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