Operatives of the Rapid Response Squad, Lagos State Police Command, have arrested one Abubakar Gahu, for using his physically challenged son to beg on the streets.
Gahu, 50, was arrested along with one Mato Abdullahi, who allegedly used his sister’s daughter, Aminat, for begging. The two suspects were part of seven persons apprehended on Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Ikeja, while exploiting the victims. The five others were identified as Sanni Isiaku, Abdullahi Mohammed, Nasiru Yusman, Nura Idris and Sagiru Ibrahim.
Gahu told the police that his crippled child had become a money-making machine, adding that he used the alms to sponsor the boy’s four siblings.
He said, “I use my son for begging. There are five of them. He is physically challenged. Three others are in school in Agege. The last one is still very young.
“He is the money-making machine while his brothers go to school. I bring him here for begging. It is whatever we raise daily that we use in maintaining the family.”
In his statement, 20-year-old Abdullahi, who used her niece for begging, said he made between N3,000 and N4,000 on a daily basis.
“I hired Amina from her mother who is my sister. I bring her early in the morning to Ikeja Under Bridge to beg. She begs while I wait around.
“At the end of the day, we make between N3,000 and N4,000. Depending on what we make, I remove my own share and give the remaining money to her. Before, we made between N5,000 and N6,000. But now, things have changed. We don’t make up to that amount anymore. A lot of us are here now. Before you get to one car, other beggars have got there.
“We have other people we settle daily. He is like our overseer. He has his own cut in what everybody makes. He helps us whenever there are problems like arrests.”
The police said eight physically-challenged children aged between nine and 12 were rescued from the suspects, who were arrested on Monday.
The RRS Commander, ACP Olatunji Disu, said the arrest was based on intelligence received from one of the unit’s social media platforms, indicating that some group of people brought physically-challenged children to the state and used them as beggars.
“The case has been handed over to the gender unit of the Lagos State Police Command for further investigation,” he added.