Some women who rent children and use them to beg for alms have been arrested by the Lagos Taskforce on Child Abuse.
Five children including a 14-month-old infant were also rescued from the women at the Iyana-Ipaja area of the state.
According to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Hakeem Muri-Okunola, the women and their infants were apprehended during a routine rescue operation by the ministry.
The beggars, it was gathered, usually move from one location to the other, using the children to solicit for alms from kind-hearted Nigerians and while some of them use their biological babies, others rent the children they use to draw sympathy from people.
One of the women arrested with identical twins, Abosede Ayuba, claimed the kids belong to her and she decided to use them to beg for alms after she lost her husband.
“I used to work before but I stopped working when I did not have strength to work. As I speak, I don’t have a cup of ‘Garri’ at home to give the children.”
Another woman, Shakira Olatunde, claimed her husband absconded when she gave birth to her child and she had no option but to take to the streets to beg.
“I was selling rice and beans but when Customs seized my goods, I became helpless. When I was selling sachet water, the Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) officials arrested me.”
Muri-Okunola, reaffirming government’s commitment to enforce the Child Right Law in the state, said one of the women was caught without her children as they escaped arrest on sighting the rescue team.
“It is very sad that most of the beggars are not the biological parents of the children they use for begging.
It is our responsibility as a government to protect the dignity of children being used as tools for begging which is a punishable offence.”
The Permanent Secretary added that government would not relent in dealing with beggars as some of them were known for aiding and abetting criminal acts such as kidnapping and robbery among others.