The Lagos State Government on Thursday said giving alms to beggars on roadside is an offence punishable by two years imprisonment without an option of fine.
It further stated that instead of risking jail term, the citizens of the state could give such alms to churches, mosques, registered orphanages, motherless babies homes or social welfare institutions in the state.
The Special Adviser on Youth, Sports and Social Development to the governor, Dr. Dolapo Badru, said this at a news conference in Alausa, Ikeja on the performance of the ministry in social care.
He said the government was determined to take beggars and the destitute off the street and provide them vocations and shelters.
He said, "Lagos State frowns on giving alms to beggars. It is punishable under the law and you can get up to two years imprisonment for giving money to beggars.
"We have places where such money could be put to good use. The government is committed to best practices in social care."
He said that the government had formulated policies and established institutional care services in order to ensure proper rescue and integration of beggars and the destitute.
He said that 72 complaints on begging and destitution were received and attended to in 2010, adding that government's efforts were aimed at reducing crimes in the state.
"We are concerned about it and other issues of abandoned babies and child abuse and lack of care for people living with disabilities. Hence, we have telephone lines people can call in case they notice some of these things including 08097226696 for beggars and 08096777389 for abandoned babies," Badru said.