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Akpo Uyeh: Corporate Begging as a Source of Livelihood

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dreamstime_m_37865376For some people, begging for alms has become a full time job. It appears that they find dignity in begging. At times, they do not even demand small sums of money rather they  have high targets. If not careful, you might just fall for their gimmicks. These set of beggars are strategically positioned devising means of ‘robbing’ unsuspecting victims. They know where to hunt their preys. Schools, bus parks and  traffic congestion  present many opportunities to these corporate beggars. Some even dress formally and you would not doubt them.

I remember as an undergraduate, while walking to my hall, I was being stopped by a man. He was dressed corporately. He wore a long sleeved shirt and a tie. His glasses made him look learned.

The discussion that ensued was as follows:

” Hello my sister!”

I turned and replied” Good evening!” Flashing my immaculate set of teeth. I was on my guard, because one had to be careful. We hear stories of kidnap, gbomo gbomo and other vices. I made sure there were people around so that I could scream for help in case of any trouble.

He continued: ” Please my sister, I am travelling to Lagos and my wallet was stolen. Please can you help me with 3000 Naira”

In my mind I was like I must have been looking like a bag of money for him to demand such an amount. He didn’t even start from 100 Naira. He went straight for the jackpot. O ye of mighty faith, ask and ye shall receive. I kind of like his faith.

” Uhmmm… Sorry I don’t have that amount. But I could assist with a token” I replied, opened my bag, ooked for cash and gave him what I could afford.

He managed to mutter a thank you and disappeared to countered the next victim.

I felt happy that I had supported someone and rushed to my hall.

Two days later, same spot! Guess who approached me again? This same man.

It was obvious that he didn’t recognise me, but I did. He had on the same clothes and used the same rehearsed lines. I didn’t answer him this time; I just waved my hand and left with full speed. So this was his own style of raising cash.

Recently I started seeing a young man in Unilag always – begging  for money from students.  The first thing that comes to my mind is that he is  able-bodied even with good looks but why does he resort begging for money. For crying out loud, he could do something with his hands or learn a trade. That was more dignifying than lazily approaching students for financial assistance.  I actually fell for his tactics  the first time.  This guy in question actually sounded in need and the way he was rendering prayers, I had to check the contents in my handbag to squeeze out cash to give him. However, this guy approached me again another time and I did not bother to grant him audience. It was the same story, same excuse!

At bus park, we see many of  them. The one appalling is young guys who are perfectly alright to do something productive. Instead they start giving stories of how they are short of their transport fare and need someone to support them. A particular one, kind of created a scene.I was just seating down in the bus calmly with other passengers waiting for the bus to load when this man came with drug list for ”his son in the hospital”

According to the man, his son was lying ill in the hospital and was left unattended to because of lack of payment of medical bills. Another passenger took it up and started attacking the man that he is fraudster. We got to know that the passenger was a medical doctor, because he was making reference to drug list. He weighed the situation that the supposed drugs could not be for the ailment he claimed his son had.

Besides, he gave him a large sum of money two weeks ago; what happened between then and now? The ” beggar” remained adamant. He kept on trying to reason with the passenger that he was telling the truth and that he was not a fraudster.  I sat watching the whole episode and got inspiration to write. Those who wanted to assist did and those that didn’t minded their business.

Personally, I have my reservations of giving money to beggars  because of not-too-nice stories that I have heard about them.  How about women at the busstops with little  children stopping passers-by to beg for money?  However, they might be genuinely in need but it is becoming abused. Wisdom is needed in separating truth from lies. These ‘beggars’ flood the streets daily. Would we say they are working smart? Begging people is their means of livelihood.

Have you had a similar experience, please share….

Photo Credit: Atholpady | Dreamstime.com

9 Comments

  1. Obi

    November 22, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    They are harmless and perpetual fraudsters who have found a disgustingly easy way to rip Nigerians off their hard earned money. I was also a victim of one on Adeniran Ogunsanya , Surulere that claimed he needed money to get fuel and foot his immediate bills and that his car( the idiot emphasized that he had a jeep) was packed at the end of the road. I didn’t verify but i somehow believed cos he perfected the juice so well and i drank it like a thirsty fool.. He then proceeded to give me his number to call him that he would transfer the money to me on monday and he didn’t. lol.
    My guy who was with me that day told me he saw the fool again somewhere on the island perpetuating the same crime and i was angry he didn’t call me so i wont rush there to face him lol.. I was just angry cos i still feel like a fool and i really thought i was helping a fellow ”brother” in need. It hurts men,,it hurts ..lol

  2. Blueberry

    November 22, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    Thanks for thr write up. This is so true and you find them here in Europe as well. The stories are always the same “I came to visit a friend, and unfortunately he did not come to pick me up as agreed. I would have spent the night at a hotel, but I am even short of money for transport to go back home. Can you help complete the cost of my train ticket?” Absolute nonesense! Who visits a friend without enough money in their pockets for the trip back? What kind of friend doesnt call u a day before to let u know he wouldn’t be available for your rendez vous? And even if he doesn’t tell you in time, what happened to calling the said friend a day or two earlier to make sure he will come get you as agreed? Ugh! I hate them fraudsters.

  3. chu

    November 22, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    Your own na small. There’s a really buttyish looking kid on the prowl in Abuja. Been seeing him since 2013. Back then, he used to be with his mum but I think he’s on his own now. Was shocked to see him at Jabi Lake Mall with the same story of he lost his transport fare. The shocking part is the kid’s accent … full time yankee!

  4. Spunky

    November 22, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    Yeye OSHI! I would rather forget my change with the cashier in a grocery store, leave tips with the bartender, over pay the woman selling banana than dash out 5naira to a beggar. I don’t care if you are holding your intestines in your hands…I’m not so nice.

  5. Corporate beggers are losers

    November 22, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    When I was in high school in Ogun state, there was this guy – a “burns victim” who came to my school every academic year to solicit funds for some imaginary surgery. This guy walked unaided, spoke clearly+ his SOS facial expression, the scars were only visible on parts of his arm.

    From JSS 1 till I got to JSS 3, he was ever present. The baffling thing was how the school authorities deemed it appropriate to have some random guy beg for money from a bunch of pre-teen kids. Looking back now, I know the guy would be set for life due to the student population at my school – JSS 1 to JSS 3 had about 6 arms each with 60+ students in each arm (class).

    Assuming 40 out of 60 students gave #5 each (#5*40 students) = #200 || #200* 6 arms (JSS 1classes) = #1, 200 || JSS 2 – #1,200 || JSS 3 #1, 200 = #3,600 (just from students alone – albeit in one visit). If he went to nine more schools in the same area, assuming the same student population/ same day, he’d have made #36,000…Now I know why some people would rather beg than work. It pays a lot!!!

    • Akpo

      November 22, 2016 at 9:09 pm

      this is very funny! made me laugh hard… It is the effect of high rate of unemployment and laziness…

    • P!e

      November 22, 2016 at 10:26 pm

      Reminds me of John Dede (?), the mute whose parents died in a car crash (he described this by hitting the blackboard with his arm). He was a frequent visitor of federal schools in Edo and Delta states for at least 5 years.

    • Ivie

      November 23, 2016 at 9:47 am

      Yeah, I know John Dele. He also came to Anambra to beg too. I can’t tell if his case is genuine or not

    • cos I say so

      January 5, 2017 at 5:34 am

      Did u attend fggc sagamu

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