Beggars in Kaduna State have threatened to sue the Nasir el-Rufai led government over the ban on begging and street hawking.
The government argued that the ban was for security reasons following a bomb in Zaria on July 7 in which about 40 people were killed.
For starters, the government did not need to “ban” begging and street hawking since such activities are illegal. What is required is enforcement of the law.
Secondly, el-Rufai likes to pose as a “progressive” and belongs to the All Progressives Congress (APC) party. Surely, the “progressive” thing to do is to implement policies that provide alternatives that make street hawking and begging unnecessary. What happened to the APC campaign claim to pay 5,000 naira (about $25) monthly to poor Nigerians?
In fact, making provisions for the poor in his state is not only “progressive” but constitutional.
The governor swore to uphold the constitution when he came into office. It says: the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government
The State shall direct its policy towards ensuring that-
all citizens, without discrimination on any group whatsoever, have the opportunity for securing adequate means of livelihood as well as adequate opportunity to secure suitable employment;
provision is made for public assistance in deserving cases or other conditions of need;
suitable and adequate shelter, suitable and adequate food, reasonable national minimum living wage, old age care and pensions, and unemployment, sick benefits and welfare of the disabled are provided for all citizens.
If el-Rufai had done his constitutional duty, and people still begged, then he would be within his rights to wield the stick.
But the same man that claims to be “progressive” made so much money from his position as minister for the Federal Capital Territory, from July 2003 to July 2007, that pictures emerged recently of his son Bashir flashing pound notes at the camera.
A Lagos-based newspaper reported that El-Rufai had assets worth 90bn naira (about $452.7m) and he owned 40 houses in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. He threatened to sue, but we are not aware of any progress on this from the alleged “progressive”.
A Senate committee investigation in 2008 found 32bn naira ($217m) missing from the accounts of the Federal Capital Territory. It claimed that el-Rufai abused his office and must be made to account for the money. It reported that: “We came to the inevitable conclusion that Nasir el-Rufai is not a fit and proper person to hold public office in a democratic set-up.”
This not fit and not proper person has now risen to be governor of Kaduna State, despite a daming Senate committee report, and is demonstrating his unfitness for public office by failing to uphold the constitution in his treatment of beggars in his state.