Bashir Abdullahi's Blog

The London ‘Almajiri’s’

with one comment

I came out of the London Paddington tube station and saw a man holding a shattered dirty cap and courting people passing by him while they try to dodge him.

What is he doing, I asked as I walked towards him.

‘Could you spare some change’ he asked as I walked passed him wondering if it is possible to have street beggars on the streets of ‘almighty’ London.

As the thought of this man continue to occupy my mind, I recollected a radio piece I once heard on the Hausa service of the BBC, that during the winter season in Britain and some other European countries, some charities used to organise some warm accommodation for the homeless people to get them off the cruel and harsh conditions on the street.

Then I thought again about the man at Paddington. Can we call him an ‘Almajiri’? Can we say Britain also have ‘Almajiri’s’? Almajiri is a name for beggars in northern Nigeria.

Britain in Trouble

It was after few weeks of my stay in London that I realised that yes, this country, a country that used to be an empire, which colonised my country and most other Commonwealth countries can be said to be shadow of it self.

The Economy is facing serious recession.

Companies and government departments cutting jobs.

I realised that it is not possible to live a day or two without having a job in Britain.

However, the welfare system and social security here is pretty good I must confess.


If a worker finds himself out of job, government will continue to pay him what is called ‘benefit’ as they begin to look for work.

I now asked, why won’t people like the man I saw at Paddington station go get some benefit from government.

Then I heard that some of them chose to be the way they are as they refuse any attempt to help them by charities or even government officials.

What an irony?

Here, some people were offered help out of begging, they refused, while in Nigeria people are in dire need of help, but can’t find any and opt for begging.

Some people might say beggars are all beggars, but as we can see, some beggars in London chose to be beggars out of choice.

Written by danmakaranta

November 2, 2009 at 3:50 pm

Posted in Randoms

Tagged with , , ,

One Response

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  1. What a contrast, while beggars in london choose to be what they are, in Nigeria they have no option. But i believe that man’s choice to be what he is is because may be he feels more confortable getting a penny from people every day than to wait for a longer period and be given some money to take care of his needs. but basically this has shown that even in advanced economies there are people that are backward that face hardships of life ‘at will’

    Aliyu Tanko

    December 20, 2009 at 6:25 pm

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