The Accra Police Command, has warned that it will soon commence a series of operations to clear child beggars off the streets of Accra, the Ghanaian capital.
The beggars are said to be from Nigeria and other neighboring countries.
Revolt Gh, a Ghanaian TV Channel reported that streets in the major parts of Accra like Madina, Osu, Ridge, Achimota and Lapaz, among others, are inundated with child beggars, most of whom are believed to be nationals of other West African countries.
The Police Command alleges that these children are brought into Ghana from neighbouring countries by some Ghanaians to be used for “commercial begging.”
Another Ghanaian news outlet, Citi News, quoted the Director of Operations of the Accra Police Command, ACP Kwesi Ofori as saying that “At the moment, you might have seen a lot of children from other West African countries on our streets. There are contractors who bring [them to Ghana] and place the children at vantage points. The Accra Regional Police Command will be looking into that.”
“The street is littered with children. Sooner or later, we will be descending on the contractors who go to neighbouring countries to bring the children, collect the money and in the end benefit”, he added.
Ridding Accra of street children, beggars
In the past, city authorities made efforts to eject street children and beggars from the streets of Accra.
For instance, children believed to be from Niger and Nigeria were picked up from some ceremonial routes, streets, under bridges, and in traffic, begging for alms from benevolent individuals in a special exercise conducted by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA).
Other areas covered included the Mövenpick Hotel, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Cathedral, 37 Military Hospital, Airport City, Airport Junction and Accra Mall, Spanner junction traffic light, and the Ghana Standards Board (Shiashie).
The team also went to the Kaneshie overhead bridge, Nima and Maamobi, and the traffic intersections at Sunny FM, Okponglo [Ghana Standards Authority (GSA)] and the Graphic Road stretch.
The AMA collaborated with the Department of Social Welfare towards the reformation and reintegration of these persons into society.
They also picked up beggars and children who had pitched camp at the footbridge near the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange, as well as popular bus terminals like the Neoplan Bus Stop at Achimota, Circle, Kaneshie and the Korle-Bu traffic light.
The Assembly urged the public to cooperate and desist from giving money to beggars on the streets as they will be violating the Beggars and Destitute Act, 1969 (PNDCL 392) which criminalizes the act of begging and giving to beggars.
* Story by The Shield Online with agency reports.