The Lagos State Government on Friday, July 1, 2016, announced that the laws on street trading in the state will be strictly enforced. The statement made by the state governor Akinwunmi Ambode reiterated that both seller and buyer are both liable and the penalty is N90,000 or 6 months imprisonment. The decision followed the death of a street hawker who was knocked down by an articulated truck while trying to evade arrest from the officials of the Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) along Maryland bus-stop on Wednesday, June 29, 2016. The incident led to the destruction of public assets.
Speaking at a live interview session on TVC, Ambode said that the renewed enforcement is in line with section one of the Lagos state street trading and illegal market prohibition law 2003, which restricts street trading and hawking in the metropolis. He also said the state executive council has resolved to enforce the law which makes both the hawker and buyer liable. The governor, therefore, warned Lagosians to stop buying things in traffic.
Meanwhile, ENCOMIUM Weekly sampled opinion of street hawkers on the new development. Many of them revealed they are into the business to earn a living thus, urge the state government to help ease sanction on street trading and empower some of them…
BRIGHT CHINEREMEM, soft drinks hawker(30) – I’m aware of the sanctions targeting street hawking in the state but there’s no any other job I can dive into. This is what I have been doing to survive daily, it’s not my wish to earn a living by doing this. But it is the condition I found myself since I couldn’t secure a good job that can put food on my table. I have an aged mom that I care for also my siblings. All these and other financial issues landed me on the street of Lagos. The state government should kindly ease the sanction. We are also human and money doesn’t grow on trees. This is what I do to get small amount daily to survive.
OKWUEGBULAM PAUL, Sausage Rolls hawker (27) – I heard Lagos State government no longer wants street hawking, but it is not new. A lot of people thought the incident at Maryland weeks back prompted the decision but it’s not. The state government never wanted us on the street of Lagos for long. We are just doing it to earn a living. KIA officials are the biggest enemies we have on the road, we hate to sight them. We understand the state government’s plight to stop street trading but we beg governor Ambode to empower us. If we have other means of earning a living, we won’t be on the road. I beg the state government to have a rethink and put up a good idea for the future of the less privileged.
ADEYEMI FAGBUYI, bread seller (31) – I’m a widow with 4 kids, it is not that my husband is dead but I regard him as a dead man alive because he has neglected his responsibilities as a father and husband. I cater for the affairs of my children, I pay fees and rent. This is what I have been doing to earn my livelihood. I don’t have enough money to establish myself, we spend almost every dime I make on food. The job is not good for me but I have to do it. I beg the state government to ease the sanction.
OJEIFOR CALEB, audio CD seller (26) – ‘m just tired of the whole situation. I own a shop where I sell my CD’s before the past administration demolished our shops at Oshodi. I have been selling on the road for survival since then, this is the business that feeds me and my younger one. We are helpless yet we don’t have enough money to get a shop. We are all begging the Lagos State Government to pity us. We don’t want to do illegal jobs to survive. Frustration can lead to something terrible. We are being frustrated, Governor Ambode needs to consider us and empower those who are ready among us.
OWOLABI OLAIDE, bread seller (28) – The ban placed on street trading is something very bad to me, I understand the government’s plight to stop street trading, it’s risky, we are at risk but we have no option, I’m a trained fashion designer but I don’t have enough money to establish myself. I just have to work out a means to survive before having my own workshop. Kindly help us plead with the state government to consider us either by providing a place where we can do our business or equipping us, so we can be more useful to the society.
RAZAQ OLUWOLE, soft drinks (29) – I’m a good hair stylist, I’m a barber. I need help to establish myself since it’s not coming from anyone, I have to struggle to survive. The country is hard and we must make a living. I beg governor Ambode to kindly empower some of us, we are tired of living like a slave. I think the six months jail term will be fine self since the government will give us food for 6 months.