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Street traders and hawkers protest in Lagos

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Street traders and hawkers were seen in the early hours of Thursday, July 28, 2016, in a peaceful protest against the ban of street trading and hawking in Lagos. The protesters were at the Lagos State House in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.

ENCOMIUM Weekly had a chat with some street traders, about what led to the protest and what they want the government to do for them…

 

AJIBADE IBRAHIM, 32 (Cashewnut seller)

Why are street traders protesting?

Because we are not comfortable with the terms Governor Ambode has given us. We need to let him know our pains. You cannot take away our source of living and expect us to keep quiet, that is why we have decided to do a peaceful protest.

I cannot pay a fine of N90,000 or go to six months jail. He should reconsider and put himself in our position.  We did not choose to become hawkers. I am hawking to survive, train my younger ones and feed my parents.

What do you want the government to do for you?

They should listen to us. If they are still going to execute their plan, please, they should get us a job that we will be able to survive with.

Do you have hope that the protest will be successful?

Yes, I hope it becomes successful because I almost lost my life three days ago because I did not want to get caught. Please, I am begging Governor Ambode to act fast because people are suffering.

 

IYA ABIODUN, 32 (Drinks and Gala seller)

Why are street traders protesting?

I have to protest so that Lagosians will be able to feel my pain. This is the only job I have and this is what I am using to train my children. So, I cannot watch one rich man that does not know poverty take it away from me.

What do you want the government to do for you?

They should listen to us. They should look for something for us to do because with this act, they have taken away our daily bread.

Do you have hope that the protest will be successful?

Yes, I have hope and I pray God will touch the heart of our leaders and they will consider us once again.

 

IYA OREOLUWA, 30 (Traditional Herbs)

Why are street traders protesting?

We have to protest because it is the only way government can hear and listen to us. Governor Ambode has taken food away from our table without providing an alternative for us and you expect us to keep quiet.

What do you want the government to do for you?

They should go through their decision again because they don’t expect me to go into prostitution or stealing, may Allah forbid it. So, they should either provide us with jobs or something that will bring money so that I can provide for my family.

Do you have hope that the protest will be successful?

Yes, I know it will be a very successful one because the way this people catching street traders are treating us is very bad, like the day they caught one boy selling chin chin, the slap the boy received on his face was not something to write home about, they treated the boy like a common thief and when someone is trying to escape, accident can happen. So the government should consider us.

 

PETER EMMANUEL, 18 (Walnut seller)

Why are street traders protesting?

I feel very happy that traders and hawkers can come together to fight for their right because there is no way people will not buy things on the road.

What do you want the government to do for you?

They should leave us to do what we know how to do best so we can make a living out of it. I am not hawking because I like it but it is what my mother is using to train me. My mother sells walnut at the other side of the road and when I come back from school, I will have to hawk so we can see food to eat and also get little money to train me in school.

So, the government should understand that it is not easy for us, so they should come to our aid.

Do you have hope that the protest will be successful?

Yes, I know it will be a successful one and I pray the government will do something about hawkers soon so we can go back to our business.

 

IYA MAYOWA (Drinks and Bottle water)

Why are street traders protesting?

We have to protest because that is the only way government can understand what we are going through. We do not want to fight or do anything that will take away life that is why we decided to do a peaceful protest.

What do you want the government to do for you?

We want the government to listen to our cry and do something about this situation they have put us into. This is more or less like killing. Please they should come to our aid by providing shops for us or provide another means of survival for us.

Do you have hope that the protest will be successful?

Yes, I know it will be successful because that is my prayer, at least if they want to do something like this, they should consider the outcome and put themselves into the situation too.

 

JAMIU ISIAKA, 23 (Bread seller)

Why are street traders protesting?

We have to protest because we cannot die of hunger and starvation. I have not been able to hawk my goods because of the fear of being caught. Two days ago, I had to run like a dog is chasing me when I saw those KAI people. Thank God for one empty BRT bus I quickly jumped into to hide. So with what the government is doing, they have put our lives at a very serious risk.

What do you want the government to do for you?

The government should not allow us die in poverty, they should listen to us by providing for us another means of survival.

Do you have hope that the protest will be successful?

Yes, surely, let us keep praying and hope for the best.

-GLORY OSIGWE

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