Around 600 Nigerien beggars, including many children, were repatriated by plane on Friday 25 March 2022 on the initiative of the Nigerien authorities. This operation comes after the broadcast of a report exposing the living conditions of these migrants on a Senegalese television channel widely broadcast on social networks.
The Republic of Niger has taken responsibility for the phenomenon of begging by some of its nationals. Late last Friday afternoon, hundreds of Nigerien nationals boarded a plane specially chartered by the Nigerien government to repatriate them to Niger. Mostly women and children, they engage in this phenomenon despite all the risks involved in order to meet their basic needs. Indeed, the first flight of the Max Air company bringing back the first contingent of Nigerien nationals landed at around 2am on Friday night at the Diori Hamani international airport in Niamey. They were welcomed by the Minister of the Interior Hamadou Souley and several officials. Buses were provided to take them to their respective communities.
Outcome of a TV report
The repatriation of these nationals is an urgent measure taken by the Nigerien government. Indeed, the operation follows the scandal of the “ Hundreds of Nigerian beggars invaded the streets of Dakar”, published by Senegalese media last week, which caused a stir in Niger and across Africa. For Hamadou Adamou Souley, Niger’s Minister of the Interior, “Through this phenomenon, it is the image of our country that is being dragged through the mud, which is why the government wants to tackle this phenomenon head on. He adds: “It is not poverty that is at the origin of this phenomenon, as we are led to believe, but rather organised mafia networks that traffic these human beings.
A few days earlier, on Tuesday 22 March, Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum held a meeting with members of his government on the issue. “Ideally, we should stop begging in the streets and pray to Allah to help us feed our parents and families…there is no good in begging and no one begs if they can afford to live in better conditions. “explained Ousmane Issoufou, a returnee from Senegal. Other nationals who were also rounded up on Wednesday were housed by the Samu Social in Dakar and were still waiting to be repatriated this Saturday morning, AFP said.. “Another flight was expected in Niamey on Saturday from Dakar. According to an official of the Samu social de Dakar, about 335 migrants were present on Friday evening at their site,” reads the French website. An operation that not only highlights the value of human but also demonstrates the sense of patriotism of the Nigerien authorities.