The FCT Administration Social Development Secretariat has handed over 23-year-old Beatrice Adah, a cancer patient, to her family after sponsoring her surgery at the National Hospital, Abuja.
Acting Director, Social Welfare Services Department, Alhaji Sani Amar, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria.
Amar, who spoke in Abuja, said that before the intervention of the FCTA Department, the cancer patient was being used by some men to make money on the streets of Abuja.
He said when the department apprehended them, they claimed that they had earlier taken the patient to the National Hospital, but couldn’t afford the medical bill, adding that it was why they resorted to begging.
Amar said that they took the patient to the National Hospital to verify the claim and the Surgeon asked them to make a deposit of N500,000.
He said that the young men had already realised millions of naira through begging on behalf of the patient.
He said: “In fact, we discovered that one of the young men had bought a plot of land in one of the local communities from Abuja natives, out of the money they realised through begging.
“The second one had also purchased a land and even built a structure, all with the money they gathered through begging in the name of looking for money to pay her medical bill.
“In fact, our investigation revealed that the patient was in their custody from July 2020 until when we intercepted them about two months ago.
“And by the grace of Almighty Allah, the surgery was carried out successfully.”
Amar revealed that when the department took Adah to the hospital, a good Samaritan appeared and contributed N350,000, while the FCTA completed the money and made the deposit for the treatment.
He said: “As time goes by, from the money the two young men realised through begging, we made them to vomit N500,000, which we added to the initial deposit of N500,000 for the treatment.
“Subsequently, FCT Administration, through the SDS, also added N300,000.
“In fact from the beginning to the end of the treatment we spent about N1.6 million put together.
“Like I said earlier, the donor contributed N350,000, the FCTA contributed N600,000 and we collected N550,000 from the young men,” he said.
Amar said that based on the investigation conducted by the department, the young men, who claimed to be doing “a Godly job,” were fond of exploiting patients with such condition (abnormal growth).
He said that the department took them to the Department of State Services for interrogation, where the Director of Criminality Investigation Department read the riot act to them.
Amar said they were made to understand the criminality in what they did, ranging from trafficking to exploiting her and making the 23-year-old to suffer under such condition.
He said they were also told that by taking her from one corner to another begging, they had disobeyed the FCTA law that banned and prohibited begging.
Amar said that the two young men were still in police custody.
He said that they were considering writing a letter of complaint as the police insisted for a written complaint if they wanted them to be prosecuted in the court of law.
Amar said the Department would intensify patrol, surveillance and contact, adding that anybody that sighted such kind of people begging with patient from any angle should report to the FCTA.
He said: “And as soon as we arrest or apprehend such kind of people, we will swing into action to deal with the issue legally and decisively.
“We will continue our advocacy for people to understand that begging generally is banned in the FCT because some people are using it to exploit others.”
Receiving Beatrice from the FCTA, Beatrice Ushunde, aunt to the patient, expressed gratitude to the FCT Administration for coming to her rescue.
Ushunde said: “On behalf our family, I want to use this medium to appreciate the Federal Capital Territory Administration for assisting us to ensure that our daughter is treated at the National Hospital.”