Physically challenged beggars in some areas of Ogun State have expressed concern about the country’s ongoing scarcity of naira notes, lamenting that this has brought a decline in almsgiving.
They also lamented that the decline in almsgiving had led to many physically-challenged beggars facing serious problems with feeding and meeting basic needs.
They said the nationwide naira shortage had slowed down the pace at which they received assistance from people and organisations, lamenting that the scarcity was making life unbearable for them.
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They added that benevolent assistance from individuals and organisations was fast disappearing in the country.
The Central Bank of Nigeria had in December, launched the currency redesign programme aimed at tackling inflation and mopping up excess liquidity outside the banking system.
The President’s directives to remove the old N1000, N500 and N200 naira notes from circulation, however, caused a naira shortage as a result of this redesign.
Nigerians have continued to experience difficulties in accessing cash and this has led to long queues at Automated Teller Machines, while Point of Sale agents charge exorbitant fees for cash withdrawal.
While the Supreme Court has ruled against the naira redesign policy and ordered that the old notes naira should continue to be legal tender till December 31, this year, there is yet to be a respite from the naira scarcity.
Some of the beggars who spoke with The Punch, however, appealed to the President Muhammadu Buhari, to address the naira scarcity issue and find a way to ease the suffering of the masses.
Musa Ibrahim, one of the physically-challenged beggars in the Ibafo area of Ogun State, said it wa difficult to see someone that would give them fifty naira.
Ibrahim lamented that some people, however, bring food or fruits, noting that the average donation for alms at the moment was N20 a day.
He added, “We don’t receive cash like before. When people passed here and we begged them for help, they will say there is no money.
“Everybody is complaining that the government policy is affecting them. It is affecting us as well. There is no money.
“We only get little food from people. Nobody is ready to give you beyond N20. Government really needs to do something to do this.”
Ibrahim Athairu claimed that before the new naira policy, he was able to provide for his family’s needs.
He lamented, “Before the issue of this new naira notes, the money I was getting was enough for my transport fare and my family’s needs.
“But right now, it is even difficult to get the money that will transport me back to where I stay and feed.
“Since the morning that we came out, I only got N150 and I have to take care of myself and two children. I cannot walk and this is what I used to survive, the policy is telling us.”
Another beggar, Suraju Talleh, pleaded with the president to find a solution to the naira scarcity issue in the country, stressing that many people were being impacted by the scarcity.
He added, “Before the whole naira issue, I used to make over N4,000 daily, but it is difficult to even see N100 now.
“People don’t have enough cash so how can they give from the little that is not even enough for them?”