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BREAKING: Roadside beggars attack, injure pregnant colleague over non-payment of N20,000 registration fee, allegedly abduct her twins

Some roadside beggars who formed themselves into an association have been accused of attacking a pregnant woman who joined them to beg for alms without paying the sum of N20, 000 said to be registration fee into the association.

Eyewitnesses described the scene of the alleged assault as dramatic as well as shocking because many alms givers expressed surprise that beggars formed a union where they charged fellow beggars for begging in the same environment with them.

The 35-year-old pregnant beggar, an indigene of Igbudu Ekka II of Ezza North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, Mrs. Ukamaka Eze Akam, said she took to begging in order to raise money for the upkeep of her twins and herself.

She said life had been very hard for her since a suitor who put her in the family way suddenly died.

According to her, she never knew that the beggars at Ogoja Road in Abakaliki had formed an association where they collect money before new beggars would join them in the area.

Not being able to raise the sum of N20, 000 the other beggars demanded recently, she said the beggars chased her away from the area on March 5, 2023. According to her, efforts to make the beggars see reasons with her failed as they became violent, assaulted her and inflicted injury on her body.

The beggar, popularly called “Mama Emmanuel” explained that she was assaulted by many of her colleagues consisting of persons living with various forms of disabilities who usually stay at Beggars Junction in front of St Teresa’s Cathedral, Ogoja road in Abakaliki.

It was gathered that the people usually clustered in front of the Church at Ogoja Road, year-in, year-out.

The Point further learnt that the beggars had, over time, formed a union to enable them to moderate themselves whenever collective alms or gifts were presented to them.

More findings revealed that some of the beggars, out of greed and mischief, began to extort money from other indigent persons with the pretense that the said fees would be the only condition for their membership into the beggars’ association.

Narrating her ordeal, the pregnant woman told The Point that she got herself into the begging business about two years ago to enable her to train her twins after the death of her supposed suitor.

Unluckily for her, she encountered serious resistance from other beggars who boldly refused to accommodate her in their arena at Nnewi Street, Off Ogaja Road due to her inability to pay N20, 000 registration fees.

Explaining why she took to begging, Akam said, “I resorted to begging due to frustration which I encountered after the death of the man who had wanted to marry me. Then, I was in a severe state of lack and along the line, someone advised me to join other indigent ones (beggars) in their cluster but upon my arrival, I was confronted by a certain Mr. Nwankwor who requested for the registration fee of N20, 000 so that I will become a member of their union.

“But, when I could not provide them with such an amount, they began to deny me a share in the gift items which some philanthropists were bringing to us.”
She disclosed further that despite the beggars’ maltreatment, she was still enjoying the luck emanating from her twins in such a way that the same group of beggars became envious of her and as a result, began to find means of chasing her out of the entire premises.

Akam said, owing to her refusal to leave the place that fateful evening, they ganged up, on the directive of their chairman simply identified as Mr. Elisha, gave her the beating of her life and inflicted injury on her forehead.

“At the particular place where I was staying alone, some persons who are looking for the fruit of the womb usually come to me and at times, some will bless me with the sum of N1, 000 or N2, 000. That was how I kept on progressing until that fateful day when I stretched out my hand to collect a gift from one of our benefactors. Suddenly, the people (beggars) attacked me and beat me mercilessly,” she lamented.

Akam alleged that the same people had beaten her to a pulp around the last quarter of last year.

She said she became unconscious after the attack, adding that her two children got missing after she regained consciousness.

According to her, her recent travail was caused by the request she made to the other beggars for them to give her a share of the instant noodles, which they were given by some members of the public.

Akam said she was struggling for her share of the noodles and that suddenly, the beggars became annoyed and began to attack her with sticks until they inflicted injuries on her. Through the intervention of a passerby, simply identified as Mrs. Josephine, Akam said she was rushed to a nearby health facility for medical attention.

She appealed to the government and all well-meaning residents to urge the beggars’ union to disclose the whereabouts of her twin babies, release them and stop maltreating her.

Responding, the Chairman of the association of beggars, Mr. Elisha, who spoke in Abakaliki dialect, denied any knowledge of all the allegations.