Oyo Govt explains why street beggars were evacuated to resettlement centre

The Oyo State Government has clarified why people living on the street were evacuated to the new Akinyele Resettlement Centre, Ibadan

The Oyo State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Inclusion, Alhaja Faosat Sanni told the press that today’s relocation was to ensure that the well-being of the people that were relocated was prioritized.

She added that the decision to move them was not spontaneous but had been meticulously planned by the ministry and that sensitization of those involved had been ongoing for a long time.

A statement released by the Oyo State Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr Taiwo Adisa, has quoted the commissioner promising that today’s evacuees will be well looked after at their new accommodation.

The statement also added that the evacuees have not just been dumped at the center and that all the items they need to make themselves comfortable have already been provided there.

She said: “This effort, as you can see, has been going on for some time. It is not just as if we went to where you saw us this morning at Sabo and bumped into the people. We have met several times with the Hausa community. Our last meeting was last Friday and we were with them up till about 8 p.m., to sensitize them on the activities of the government concerning the relocation of the destitute, beggars and street urchins in Oyo State.”

“This is because whether we like it or not, we know that some of the people that are being relocated are headstrong people. Even as you can see this morning, there was a resistance that they don’t want to leave the premises. And as you can see this new place, a lot of efforts have been put into it. So, we tried to talk to them before they agreed to come in.”

“Quite frankly, many of them have packed their things, especially the women. They wanted to come out voluntarily but it took us some time to convince some people among them, especially the leaders of the beggars there, who were proving adamant. Four commissioners and quite a number of government functionaries were there but we had to talk to them that the government is planning for their well-being.”

“We are not just going to dump these people somewhere and make them suffer. As you all can see, the facility provided here is far better than where they are. So, that is what the government is doing.”

“Again, you can see the officials of the Ministry of Women Affairs and Ministry of Environment are here. We have started taking their profiles, that is their bio-data: names, age, and where they came from, because some of them are not Nigerians.”

“And what we intend to do is to accommodate them as best as we can, take care of them, do the best of the profiling we can do, to ascertain where they are from. And if they are ready, we are going to assist them to go back to their states of origin.”

“There are husbands and wives there. I never thought of people like that being beggars. We have provided a space for women and children that are street urchins. But I am just hearing for the first time that there are couples among them. We have kitchens, cooks, we have bought foodstuffs, mattresses, mats. We have all the household things you can think of, which are in an average Nigerian home. The toilets too are there; six for the women, six for men. And at the back of the toilets, we have a washing place. So, those are some of the facilities provided.”

“This is like a halfway home. It is not as if the government will take care of the responsibilities for their livelihood forever. No. But what we want to do is a sort of rehabilitation before they are finally settled. As much as possible, we want to take all of them away.”

“Not only that, there are other centres and places under the bridge that is in the radar of the government.”

The Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr. Wasiu Olatunbosun also stated that the evacuation was not meant to just dislodge the destitute but was a way to provide them with better living conditions at a suitable location.

In his words: “Today’s exercise was successful and it has also helped to lend credence to the fact that the people love Governor Seyi Makinde, as there was little resistance from the people involved.”

“Getting to the resettlement center, they were full of praises and prayers for Governor Makinde. I am happy that the exercise, which we started few months ago, ended in praises and prayers for Governor Makinde,” he said.

Dr Olatunbosun also acknowledged the Hausa community leaders whose support was vital in carrying out the evacuation successfully as they were available to coordinate with the task force before and after the evacuation. They also helped to put out the message to concerned philanthropic organizations/residents that they could still visit the evacuees at their new Akinyele Resettlement Centre abode.

According to him, the governor had kept his promise that he “won’t dislodge the people unless a better place is provided for those affected and that is why he committed a lot of resources to put up the centre with all essential amenities like good modern toilet facilities, potable water, solar lights as well as well-ventilated dormitories with mattresses, a clinic, and feeding for the inmates for the take-off, just to mention a few.”

The Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Chief Bayo Lawal also spoke and praised the Oyo State governor for taking the bull by the horns and doing something previous governments had attempted to do but failed due to a lack of political will.

He said: “We see this as a dream coming true because past governments have been making several promises to move them to another site but could not fulfill the promises. But we promised and fulfilled. So, it is an achievement as far as our government is concerned.”

The evacuation formally began this morning when Pace setter buses came to pick up the evacuees from the shanties along Jemibewon road to relocate them to the new resettlement centre.

Present at the event were the Commissioner for Environment, Barrister Idowu Oyeleke; Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Inclusion, Alhaja Sanni; Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr. Olatunbosun; Commissioner for Local and Chieftaincy Matters, Chief Bayo Lawal.

Others present were the Executive Secretary, Oyo State Security Trust Fund, CP Fatai Owoseni, rtd, who is equally the Special Adviser on Security Matters to the governor; the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, etc.

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