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20.06.2004 General News

Enforce law on begging - Appiah

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Kumasi, June 20, GNA- Odeneho Kwaku Appiah, immediate past President of the Youth in Action, an umbrella of youth groups has appealed to the relevant law enforcement agencies to take steps to enforce the law that prohibits begging in the country.

He said this was necessary because of the alarming rate at which beggars had besieged the country's streets.

Odeneho Appiah made the appeal at the quarterly meeting of the Asawasi Gye Nyame Fun club, a youth group, in Kumasi on Saturday. "The reluctance of the law enforcing agencies to strictly enforce the law that makes it an offence for people to go about begging in the country, has paved the way for some people to perceive it as a legitimate practice, and even now regard it as their permanent jobs," he added.

He noted that the behaviour of some of the able bodied beggars who use crude and aggressive tactics to solicit money from members of the public was a source of worry to most Ghanaians and a nuisance to tourists.

Odeneho Appiah was of the view that many of those who had taken to begging were ignorant of the existence of any law that prohibited begging.

He suggested that a sustained and vigorous campaign be mounted to create awareness about the existence of the law and also to educate the public on the need "to stay away from such an unhealthy practice." Odeneho Appiah also advised charitable individuals desirous to offer money to beggars to desist from "giving such offertory directly to them, but rather channel them through institutions that are charged with the responsibility of mobilising and helping such people to acquire vocational skills."

Miss Felicia Osei, Secretary of the club, denounced the habit of some visually impaired and physically handicapped persons employing the services of teenage children as their guides.

She advised that such practice should be discouraged since it was not only an infringement on the child's right to education, but also constituted child labour.

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