By Felix Victor
Canadian writer Marty Rubin once said, “Giving alms to the rich is a luxury no beggar can afford”. This assertion is not looking like a saying for Nigeria if the strategy employed by some skilled Abuja beggars is put into consideration, it is a fact that that the recently celebrated increased minimum wage is nothing but stipend compares to how much these set of professional beggars are making just for collecting stipends from unsuspecting Nigerians.
It is no new thing to an average Nigerian who steps out at the early hours of the morning and comes back at late evenings to get approached by tattered looking children or elders, who sings chorus trying to evoke sympathy and attract currencies. Over the years, the strategies of these beggars seem to have evolved from seating at road sides with plates, to looking tattered and singing, down to dressing properly and standing at the road side and now making moves like they are commuters and those the ones that are making the real cash out of bus passengers.
These beggars stand at bus stops where there targets are the buses on queue loading passengers in turns, looking all flashy as though they were headed to an office, they get into busses and ensure they are noticed by those in the vehicle, the sometime put pressure on the drivers to move fast, (probably because they’ve got clients in other busses they have to catch up with), immediately the bus starts moving, they smile at the person seating next to them and say “sorry please can you assist me with 100 naira?” Of cause as easy as that seems, the person gives to them, after a while they highlight with an excuse that they changed their mind as to where they are headed and move on to the next bus.
Findings shows they usually works on vehicle with a daily target of 40 and above, putting it into perspectives a free gift of N100 per or more vehicle with above 40 vehicles (always moving in the direction that is having high movement of commuters) per day, will be looking at an amount around N4,000 per day and N24,000 per week excluding Sundays because commuters are usually not much that day, monthly they will be going home with and average amount of N96,000 an amount that makes the civil servant salary with the new minimum wage looks more like beggars.
Corporate begging it was gathered is a new found occupation that is not restricted only to Abuja it has its root in Lagos and the actors are even said to have formed an association. With the employment situation in the country professional begging seems to be a new employment opportunity for jobless Nigerian since the government haven’t granted them any and the workers varies from the young to the old.