The repatriation of 1,320 Nigeriens engaged in begging on the streets of Ghana earlier last month was part of the first phase of measures employed to deal with the menace of streetism in the country.
A statement issued by the Public Affairs Unit of the Ministry said the government had put together an Inter-Ministerial and Technical Committee to find a lasting solution to streetism.
It, therefore, appealed to the public to support all efforts underway to reduce child begging and streetism as stipulated in the Children’s Act 560 of 1998, which frowns on all forms of exploitation and perpetrators.
Begging on the streets of Accra has been on the ascendancy for some time with both Ghanaians and foreign nationals competing for the benevolence of pedestrians.
Some of these panhandlers, especially the young boys and girls, were sometimes aggressive as they held commuters tightly, creating inconvenience and nuisance.
The beggars plied their trade mostly at the Graphic Road, Lapaz, Achimota, Kasoa Old Barrier traffic light, University of Professional Studies (UPSA) junction, the Accra Mall, Adjiringano, Shiashie and other ceremonial streets.
“Streetism is a social menace that has wreaked havoc on the nation’s social and economic life as the country’s current “street children” prevalence is extremely worrying and putting their lives at risk as long as they remained on the street,” it said.
On the repatriation of the Nigeriens, the statement said it was done on June 7 and 8, 2022, in collaboration with the Embassy of Niger in Ghana; Ghana Immigration Service, and other relevant stakeholders.
The statement said the exercise commenced on June 5, after the embassy mobilised human and financial resources comprised of 300 adult males, 400 adult females and 620 children, out of which 200 were males and 420 females.
It said returnees were found under bridges, traffic light intersections, street pavements and other places begging for alms or loitering on the streets of Accra and brought to the Achimota Bus terminal ahead of their repatriation.
The statement cautioned that those who used unapproved routes into the country for the sole purpose of begging would be dealt with in accordance with the law when caught.