Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: The Public Face of 'Beggars Without Shame'

opinion

We, the United Beggars of Mungo-Parkia, are making our case here in response to the recent deportation of our members from one state of this country to another. This deplorable attack on our noble profession, which is the world's second oldest, is egregious and inconsolable. Beggars are an essential part of the social fabric of this nation yet, despite this, we are underrated. The following statement will give full disclosure to our civil structure.

This hypocrisy has to stop. A nation without beggars is a nation without substance. We plead with fellow citizens to support our worthy cause. The easiest definition of beggars is "people who move from state to state and don't pay taxes. They usually don't have homes or bank accounts so can and do exist as economic ghosts." We are indispensible in the money trade since we represent underground banking. We number about 2 million and an individual can make between 1000 to 10,000 Naira a day. So we, collectively raise at least 200 million naira daily.

We are a big help to this country and you need us. Wake up Mungo-Parkians. Imagine leaving your home late because your driver showed up late. You are rushing to catch your Emirati Flight to Dubai. You see by the time you get to your sixteen thousand dollar first class seat, you'll need to have your journey mercies. This is where the Airport Beggar comes in. The Airport beggar should know how to recite many verses of each holy book. This way he can make a du'a for Alhaji or read the psalms for the Christian.

This type of beggar must pay 10 percent airport charge out of his earnings daily to airport security. If well paid he can provide prayer till you land in Dubai City. He also has a cell phone if you have to go to London from Dubai and need additional mercies. There are no beggars in Dubai and you need the prayers, so you have to call him. The airport beggar is identified by his gold watch, bright smile and musical voice. His orange teeth from Kola are considered a mark of experience.

Then we have Beggar Ambassador. This one is tricky. He usually originates from Ebonyi or Anambra. This one does not know how to beg like Mallam Beggar. Beggar Ambassador is a wanna-be beggar who is unsophisticated at the low end of begging. He is not trained and even speaks English. Like he ever saw Oyibo begging? When in Rome you do as Romans do. But not the Beggar Ambassador. This is why he fails. Hausa is the lingua franca of Beggars. This class of Beggars is found to lack good skills and is better served working in spare parts business. I usually suggest that this type leave Lagos and go to Kano. There they can learn 'NA GODE, YALLABAI' and a few more phrases before they return to Lagos. They need to dress in gowns if they are serious. Wearing trousers and shirts is inappropriate for street begging.

Malam Beggars are the pros. These ones have begged all their lives and so they are hardened. They generally stay out of trouble and pay off the officials. They are found all over the country. They work only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays around wedding parties and locations. Friday is their busiest day because the politicians are in the mosques cleansing their souls. They generally bring in large wads of cash. These beggars know how to charm with their beautiful prayer verses as they pray for you.

And just in case you have some weekend sins to commit you can pay it forward. I think ten thousand naira will provide 48 hour prayer. You pay before you sin. Mallam Beggar is a treasure. And if travelling to Jos by road he is present at every stop so you can offload your thousand naira notes and ensure your journey mercies.

Then we have the Contractor Beggar. This one is more sophisticated. He is usually in white agbada outside any MINISTRY gate. He has a white cap and white shoes as well. Usually well shaven and clean. His name is Alhaji no matter his religion. This type is very useful and, for a few thousand naira, can change your identity. But be careful don't give him your passport, he may not come back.

He is good at flattery and is usually found under the shade speaking whatever language he uses, fluently. He is charming and facilitating. Sometimes found in the visa or tax offices, he can be very creative. He can produce anything for a fee like Birth Certificate, Certificate of Occupancy, Law degree and even a passport from Cameroun, if you desire. Contractor beggar has a tendency to vanish from time to time. This type of beggar may even own a car and prefers Honda Accords.

Our real big-time member is 'Beggar Uno Parasiticus Paralyticus (BUPP). This one is an elite. He dresses and walks like a peacock and can speak any language in MungoParkia. He spends his whole life in the pursuit of black liquid from the delta areas. Beggar Parasiticus may be highly educated and may even have a PhD. He is spotted frequently in London, Atlanta and Dubai begging for shoes and Ipads. In return he gives black gold. Most doctors have commented about his acute sense of smell. This is because the unique nostrils are designed to smell contracts. He is a paper scavenger and feeds only on contracts and toast. Beggar Parasiticus claims an intense love for God. He goes to Rome, Jeddah and Tel Aviv regularly to beg God. He is always building religious temples and pays fellow, lesser beggars to pray for him.

The BUPP has an acute fear of death because he knows that he cannot take it all with him. Some such have requested gold balls to be placed in their mouth after death so they can beg/bribe the Angels there with it. They feel this is necessary because they've been told that in heaven they may have to share rooms with their maiguards. They have written to the Pope and the Grand-Mufti and have increased their religious spending to prevent this calamity. The name Parasiticus is because of their intense dependence on liquid gold which actually belongs to 170 million other people. They suck so much that they leave the people hungry (parasiticus). It is said they are more dangerous than the anopheles mosquito which at least leaves its victims with some blood after feeding. Paralyticus is because they suck nonstop till they are overfilled. This is accompanied by an intense lethargy that ends up with them sleeping for 2 weeks in Paris or Dubai as they recover. Beggar Uno is irresistible, insatiable and undeportable. A society without beggars is a heartless society. Beggars are always praying day and night, before and after the money. It is their prayers that keep the miliki going and they have been responsible for our economic success. United Beggars of Mungo Parkia is the public face of Beggars Without Shame which is our principal advocacy group. Our Beggar Commander in Chief Chop Your Money. His slogan is 'dip inside your pocket and deport the cash to us.' He reminds us that Mungo Parka TifTif, our founder, never deported people only riches.

Additionally we do not discriminate, we take dollars, riyals, shekels and euro. We even give change and accept cheques and credit cards. We will take IOU and letter of credit. In the next financial year we will be producing a Beggar's Journal. We deserve respect. Now that we have revealed how essential we are to the society, we expect change and respect. In this regard, we are working with University of Bribery Sciences to develop a beggar school where beggars can get degrees like MBA (Master of Begging Arts) and others.

We thank you for your time.

The author, Professor of Medicine, writes from Michigan, USA.

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