The Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development have rescued three babies and apprehended two women for using the less than a month old babies to beg for alms.
The Commissioner, Mrs Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, said that the babies were rescued on Thursday at Oyingbo area of the state.
She said that two women, Hadiza Nosiru and Salamotu Salisu, who were arrested in the process, were natives of Jigawa State.
Akinbile-Yussuf said that the infants were rescued during a routine operation carried out by the ministry’s Rescue Team.
She said that the women had been taken to Rehabilitation and Training Centre at Majidun, Ikorodu for shelter, while investigation was ongoing and possible legal action may be taken.
According to her, the infants were not the biological children of the accused but taken from their parents for use to raise alms for themselves.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that these women are not the biological mothers of the babies.
“The babies were given out to them by their parents who later get paid everyday on each baby,’’ she said.
Akinbile-Yussuf expressed disappointment at what she called the heartless practice of using newborn babies to beg.
She said the practice had denied the babies of proper care, breastfeeding and exposed them to hazards on the streets.
She called on members of the public to join hands with the state government in eradicating the menace.
“The ministry has observed that the incident has been a recurring issue among some female beggars in the state and we promise to pay deeper attention to the issue.
“Necessary legal actions will be taken against the parties involved to serve as deterrent to others and those planning to perpetuate any form of child abuse and inhuman act against innocent children.
“The state government will continue to intensify efforts to get rid of street begging in all areas of the state.
“And we urge individuals willing to show generosity to do so through established orphanages and rehabilitation homes in the state,’’ she said.
Speaking to journalists, one of the biological mothers of the infants, who was paraded at Alausa, Ikeja along with the three infants identified herself as one Tawa Aregbesola from Ibadan.
She also confessed that she had an agreement with one of the women arrest by the team.
Aregbesola said she gave out her baby for alms begging between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. daily on conditions that the sum of N1,000 or N1,500 be paid her as returns.
Aregbesola, who said she had four other children, claimed that she did not have an idea of where her baby was usually taken to for alms.
She also said she was not aware of the implications of her actions against the innocent new-born.