By Emmanuel Udom
Beggarprenuer is not a word in the dictionary. It comes from combining begging and entrepreneurship.
This basically means that today, beggars are becoming creative beyond begging for money and other things, in order to keep their body and soul together.
They are actually investing in daily contributions, savings, farming, real estate, training of their children, relatives, etc. These are the 21st century beggars in the streets of Lagos.
Unlike in the past, investigations by www.csomedia.com.ng conducted in various parts of Lagos in the last 2-weeks showed that some beggars do not live from hand-to-mouth anymore.
Most of them sleep in mosques, markets, railway tracks, uncompleted buildings, bushes, etc, but make money, daily from begging.
During the last local government election in Lagos, Mallam Abubakar, a trader at Ile-Epo market in Abule Egba was spotted by this writer trying to settle a quarrel between a blind beggar and his guide, along Old Ota Road.
Cornered, Abubakar said the blind beggar hired a guide for N500 per day and could not pay him at the end of the closing begging day.
That led to quarrel between the beggar and his guide, who threatened to drop the beggar for another one, the trader said.
According to him, some blind beggars are always in the habit of either using their children or hiring other Hausas, or Fulanis to guide them.
Based on this tip-off, www.csomedia.com.ng stormed Ikeja GRA and observed for three days running last week that some beggars are clustering around the exit gate of Hurmart Shopping Mall, located along Isaac John Street, to beg for money.
One of the beggars unknowingly said that she makes more money daily at the place than elsewhere to assist her husband, who is a security man, in the training of their children.
Observations around the GRA also showed that the entrances of Ebeano Shopping Mall, Marriot, Country Shopping Mall, Radivision Hotel, Cubana Hotel, etc, have been taken over by beggars.
Yes, officials of the Lagos State Task Force on Environmental Sanitation and Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI), have made progress in clearing various pedestrian bridges in the state of beggars and traders.
But, it seems till thy kingdom come, beggars are still sleeping and begging at atop Oshodi, Anthony Village, Shogunle, Obanikoro, CMS, Fadeyi, pedestrian bridges, struggling with traders and areas boys for space, daily, every day and night, investigations revealed.
Interactions with beggars at Ebutte Metta showed that some of them are landlords or landladies, while others do send money to their relatives back in the northern parts of the country for farming and other purposes.
Lagos, former capital of Nigeria and commercial nerve center of our beloved country, with an estimated population of 23 million people is the happening state.