By Ushang Ewa
The number of destitute children in Cross River’s state capital, Calabar has again increased in the past few weeks with residents fearing they pose a security threat CrossRiverWatch can authoritatively report.
Street kids, beggars and almajiris as they are popularly known, are now very visible around Mary Slessor, Calabar road, Bogobiri street, Lagos street, Egerton, some parts of Goldie street, Bedwell and Etim Edem park.
They hang around all day begging for money from passer’s by with the elderly ones sending their children. While those with no partners choose a comfortable spot to sit and beg for alms.
Findings by CrossRiverWatch reveal they spend their night at Bogobiri and Etim Edem park with some who spoke with our reporter claiming they pay between 50 Naira and 200 Naira to be allowed a spot to sleep.
During the daytime, some nap just about anywhere that feels comfortable.
Meanwhile, some passer’s by who spoke with CrossRiverWatch say this poses a security threat as the young ones are easy targets for crime kingpins.
“Remember the skylo and skolombo boys? This is how they begin” says Ben Ashi a student.
“The government ought to take care of these people, they pose a security threat, imagine what will happen if a drug lord picks them and cleans them up to do his bidding? It will become a full blown crisis” says Ekanem, a spectator at the Calabar festival village.
The immediate past administration had initiated various programs to cater for destitute children with the hype surrounding such dying off at the eve of that administration.
It is yet to be seen whether the incumbent administration will continue with such programs or initiate new ones.
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