About one year after it faced fierce public outrage over the forced expulsion of some Igbo indigenes from its territory, the Lagos State Government at the weekend said it had returned 458 destitute persons to other states of the federation through their relations, who are resident in the state.
The state government also said the rescue of beggars from the streets of Lagos is a continuous exercise which is aimed at ridding the state of beggars, the destitute and mentally-challenged persons.
Special Adviser to the Governor, Youth and Social Development, Dr. Enitan Badru, disclosed this in Lagos during a ministerial press briefing to mark the third anniversary of Governor Babatunde Fashola's second term in office.
At the briefing, the special adviser said the state government "has handed over 458 persons to their relatives while 28 persons were handed over to the Child Protection Unit for further social investigation.
He further said 27 persons who were rescued from different locations in the state were transferred to the correctional centre, while 53 are currently undergoing rehabilitation and training at the Rehabilitation and Vocational Training Centre in Ikorodu, Lagos.
Also, Badru said the state government released about 88 babies for local and international adoptions, noting that 87 of the adoption cases "have been legalised through the state's family and probate courts."
Of the total, 62 were local adoptions, 20 international, and five were relative international adoptions. One foster order was also extended at the family court. He explained that the state government is committed to ensuring that adequate care and protection are provided for vulnerable children - abandoned, homeless, abused or other children - whose rights and privileges as stipulated by the Child's Rights Act have been trampled upon.
Badru said about 2,217 beggars and the destitute were taken off the streets of Lagos "to rid the metropolis of their menace and to realise the state government's policy on ridding the streets of Lagos of beggars and the destitute who constitute a social nuisance and impede the state's goal of becoming a mega city.
"The Ministry of Sports and Youth Development embarked on the aggressive rescue of beggars, mentally challenged and the destitute from the streets of Lagos and overhead bridges," the special adviser said.
He said 1,412 of the destitute and beggars were taken to the rehabilitation and training centre, Owutu, Ikorodu, where the government had made provisions to help turn their lives around.
The special adviser said of the 87 able-bodied persons among the destitute suspected to be criminals were handed over to the taskforce for prosecution.
The rescue of beggars from the streets of Lagos, he stressed, is a continuous exercise and his office liaises with other security agencies to rid Lagos streets of beggars, the destitute and mentally challenged.