The Begging Professionals

Worker's Day

Happy Belated Workers’ day!

May 1, the internationally celebrated Workers’ day world over is a day when most professionals get to down their working tools… In tune with the celebrations, I also downed my professional blogging tools, hehe… (not really shaa,  had some workers’ day engagements to attend to). Asides Nigeria, the International Workers’ Day, also known as Labour Day is celebrated in Angola, Bulgaria, Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, France, Italy, Portugal, Malta, Marshal Islands, Mozambique, Namibia, Panama, South Africa, Zambia Zimbabwe and China (where the International Labour Day is a 3-day holiday – imagine that!).

Even though all workers’ are supposed to down tools and take the Workers’ day off, a lot of professionals still can’t afford the luxury due to the sensitive nature of their jobs. And workers’ day just as the name implies, is for all workers, not for only the so called ‘professionals’. Fidelity bank captured it so succinctly in their Workers’ day sms to me:

“To all those who keep our economy working. Happy Workers’ Day from all of us at Fidelity Bank”

We all know that asides the medical doctors, engineers, lawyers, bankers and other ghen ghen workers, the farmers, petty traders and artisans all contribute to our economy some way or another. But there are some group of ‘workers’ I keep wondering what their contribution to the economy is. One of such groups are the BEGGARS. Okay, before you get it twisted, I am not referring to the disabled/physically challenged individuals who beg for alms on the streets. I am talking about the healthy men and women who derive job satisfaction from begging, some of them are even gainfully employed in other fields.

When I was much younger, begging in the streets was exclusive to the physically challenged and homeless kids, and people were compelled by sympathy to give them alms. The story is different today. These days, the non-physically challenged and people who live in houses are competing for ‘beggar’s spot’ with the disabled. And this is what brings about the topic ‘The Begging Professionals.’

I noticed that while a lot of workers’ observed the international Workers’ day yesterday, this special set of people were sitting/standing faithfully at their duty posts. They were spotted at there regular spots doing their daily business but my annoyance is that they don’t get to pay tax like I do.

This Begging Professionals don’t look tattered, they dress well (with or without bathing) and go to their begging posts with bold faces seeking whom they can get some naira notes from as their ‘entitled’ daily allowance. These days, they don’t even bother with cooking up compelling convincing stories – they simply beg. Just yesterday, I met a well-dressed middle-aged woman with no physical impediment standing comfortably under the shade of her umbrella and proudly begging for money at the foot of Banex Pedestrian bridge. As I approached the foot of the bridge she called out to me as she calls out to other passers-by – “Sister good morning. Abeg I am begging for money to eat.”

There was no complex tragic story or emotion behind her begging, her mission statement was simple and straight to the point – “I am begging for money to eat.” Her tone was also flat and non-dramatic, it sounded rather ‘professional’ more like she was saying – ‘if you like give me, if you like, don’t; if you don’t give me, someone else will – I am simply doing my job.”

I keep asking myself how and when we got to this place where people find dignity in begging. Some of these begging professionals are however too proud to stand on the streets and beg so they do theirs codedly behind closed doors. They beg for everything ranging from things as minor as bathing soap, to body cream, to talcum powder, to sanitary pad (for some ladies), to offering money inside church, to crayfish or maggi, to handbag, to monthly BIS and recharge cards… to the major beggings’ like borrowing your car or house or office to… the list is endless really!

They beg from anyone who is unfortunate enough to be associated with them in one way or another and the more annoying part is that they feel entitled to the things they are begging you for! Same way some professional beggars on the streets get aggressive when you are unwilling to ‘help’ them especially when they corner you in an isolated area, that is the same way some off the street professional beggars in homes and neighborhoods find ways of bullying and blackmailing people emotionally for not ‘helping’ them. They beg with this ‘you owe me’ attitude such that if you deny their request or delay in ‘helping’ they’ll cook up several stories against you of how you don’t want to help your own. It is so sad that ‘Everyday people’ are now so comfortable and take pride in begging, even for things and from people that shouldn’t be begged for/from.

So what’s the point of today’s e-Boost?

The menace of the Begging Professionals in our society today is really disturbing… I need your suggestions on how best we can help these begging professionals who stay on and off the streets and also figure out ways they can add positively to our collective economy. Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comment box.

Wishing y’all a Happy Belated Workers’ Day and a Testimony-filled month of May!


Photo Credit: Stanbic IBTC


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