Hungry Nigeriens invade Nigeria for food, alms -


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Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Hungry Nigeriens invade Nigeria for food, alms

CALABAR- HUNGER-STRICKEN Nigeriens, who escaped from the country due to food crisis, have seized advantage of Nigeria’s porous borders to swoop on Cross River State, where they beg and trouble residents  for alms for survival.
Some of the men fled with their wives, but while some got unskilled security work in Aba, Port Harcourt, Onitsha and Enugu, their wives looking gaunt and dirty in appearance with charcoal black skin, stayed in Calabar with their children to beg for alms.
They are distinguishable with their long flowing dresses and children milling around them. Their activities are outside the normal culture of average economic migrants, who take up jobs and engage in businesses to survive, these ones are leeches that have turned themselves to nuisance to residents of the state.
They are found in busy places at major bus stops, markets, eateries, schools in the cities and towns in the state
Along with their children, who are mostly females, they hold on to the clothes and cars of passersby or motorists they find around asking for money.
Unlike other migrants from Cameroon who engage in menial jobs or prostitution to sustain themselves, these ones concentrate on begging and even when a person tells then he does not have, they insist on getting something from him or her. They take advantage of the goodwill of most people by pointing to the babies slung across their shoulders that they claim are hungry and need food to eat.
Famine drove us from our country—Amina
One of them,  about 25 years of age,   who gave her name as Amina and speaks smattering pidgin English told NDV that she came from Niger  last year,  and that there was famine in their country, which was the reason  they migrated to Nigeria to find succor.
“No rain for our country, Niger, and we come here to beg and eat and send some money home.”
She said they came with their husbands, who are doing security work in Aba, Port Harcourt, Onitsha and Enugu.
“We go to meet our husbands in their work places in Aba and Port Harcourt and after, come back to Calabar,” she added.
She said the money they make was hardly enough to take care of them and their children and could not afford to rent accommodation.
“We sleep at Macbite (defunct eatery), opposite Total Filling station on Calabar Road and take our bath in the river every morning”.
They‘ve refused to stop begging — Isyaka, Nigerien chair
Mallam Nasiru Isyaka, Chairman of Nigeriens living in Cross River, said: “You know these people are very stubborn. We have done everything to stop them from begging because of the risks, but they do not listen. You know when somebody is used to begging and he gets some money easily, she or he will not want to stop.”
He said many of them were well to do by Nigerien standard because the money they make is sent home and their families back home use it to buy cattle and sheep for them.
“With such profits, it is very difficult for them to do any other thing than begging which they see as business and it pays them,” Isyaka asserted.
They return after we repatriate them — C’River Immigration
Public Relations Officer, Nigerian Immigration Service, Cross River Command, Mr Patrick Ishabor, said raids were normally carried out to take them off the streets and send them to Abuja from where they are repatriated to their country.
“But you know we have porous borders and after repatriation, these people still find their way back through unofficial routes”.
He said during the Calabar Carnival in December, they were cleared off the streets, but soon after the carnival, they returned to the streets.
“We are making plans to take them out, particularly now that we have a major election coming up in the country. We will not want anything that could cause a hindrance to a hitch-free exercise,” he stated.

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