21st century beggars: a peculiar Lagos experience

Not too long ago, the Lagos state government deported certain beggars to their home states and their was a whole lot of hullabaloo as a result of that.
My intention is not to revisit that sourly event or even the ridiculous apology and politicking that followed, not at all… But I intend to discuss a new form of begging – in a rather civilized and cultural way; beggars who I think no state government can possibly deport.

It would surprise you to know that begging has taken a whole new sophisticated level in recent times, and you would be astounded by the calibre of people that can now be safely regarded to as BEGGARS without any sense of apology to the word.

I tried as much as possible not to write this piece, but I had to succumb following the barrage of encounter I have had with these beggars in the last couple of days.

The begging mentality has successfully ingrained itself into our culture such that it has now become a norm, and consequently it is an anathema not to give in to these beggars.

From the policeman, to the gateman to virtually anybody who thinks they deserve to get a stipend from for no obvious reason of course, the list of beggars is endless…

It’s funny how the gateman quickly assumes anyone that drives through the gate is better than him and as such deserves to give him some stipend for the weekend, something for the festivities, etc.

The security guard or porter believe every student is definitely richer than him and must give him something.

The policeman/traffic warden stops in traffic and approaches a Jeep, of course expecting the occupant to part with some stipends for him.

I’m personally bewildered by this beggar mentality that’s now common place in our society. It is a big part of a culture of undue subservience even in corporate settings.

I remember someone sharing with me recently and comparing the nature or attitudes of stewards, security guards and gatemen in corporate settings in Johannesburg and Lagos, having lived in both cities. He was quick to mention the absence of this undue subservience and beggarly attitude among such workers in Johannesburg, and I totally agree with him.

As I conclude, I have not in any insinuated that giving is bad. I’m only troubled by a mentality that makes our people think they’re inferior and expect hand-me-downs from some more superior persons… As a people, we must put an end to this kind of mentality and begin to embrace one that promotes self dignity and confidence among each and every one of us…
Let’s together say NO to beggar mentality…

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