16 Jul 2017

We Came To Ghana To Beg . . . Say Mali, Niger, Chad, Nigeria Migrants

Some African migrants have told The Chronicle that the hospitality of Ghanaians had brought them into the country to beg for alms on the streets.

These migrants, who The Chronicle interacted with at different locations at the Nima, a suburb of Accra, said they are from Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and Mali, and according to them, they came by foot, whilst others said they came by road.
Image - Immigrant beggars in Ghana
The beggars, who pleaded to speak on condition of anonymity, said begging for alms is a ‘profession’ they had adopted to survive in the country and to take care of their children back home in their respective countries.

An 80-year-old street beggar, who said she is from Zaria, in Northern Nigeria said she came to Ghana by foot, however, she could not recollect the number of days she spent walking from Zaria to Ghana.

She confidently indicated that begging for alms is what she had lived on since arriving in the country at a youthful age. The Zaria native said she was a divorcee.

According to her, her children had abandoned her because their father poisoned their minds against her.
In this regard, she said she would rather die and be buried in Ghana than going back to her homeland, where she would hardly have something to eat.

“I am not ready to go home because I have no one to take care of me. Here in Ghana, I have a lot of companions around me who are also beggars. So, I am more comfortable here,” she said.

A Nigerian beggar, with a calabash in his hand, also approached the reporters to beg for alms.

According to him, God had destined him to beg for alms to provide for himself and his family.

Speaking in pidgin English, he said: “My sister, give me GH10 and God will bless you.”

After collecting the money, he became furious when these reporters asked him how he arrived in Ghana.

Shop owners around the beggars' location told The Chronicle that the beggars are really making a great deal as much GH50 or more daily.

One of the shop owners said the beggars come in batches, and after making enough money, they convert the amount into CFA, then leave for their country.

“You would be shocked the amount of money these beggars carry on them. Sometimes, the coins alone they bring to us to change for them is a lot,” the shop owner said.

According to the shop owner, the beggars, because of their old age, send their children or other family members to continue the trade on a commission basis when they leave the country.

The shop owner added that some of the beggars chase and embarrass drivers, especially saloon car drivers for money.

The Imam of Kaldof Mosque at Nima, Abdul Rahman Abdullah told The Chronicle that Islam frowns against the practice where Moslems force people for charity.

Imam Abdul Rahman Abdullah said they had sacked the beggars from coming to the Mosque for alms because the Mosque was currently under construction.

However, he said, the beggars would not leave the area, saying their presence was causing a nuisance to the community.

Source: The Chronicle

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