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 1 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, urged the state government to help ease sanction on street trading and empower some of them…
COLLINS OSUYA, bread seller (20)
There’s nothing we can do than to keep begging the state government to allow us continue with our business. The country is facing a lot of crisis, people are struggling hard to earn a living. This is our own chosen means to earn a living. We all know it is against the law to seek survival on the street, we are not criminals, we are not armed robbers and it is not our wish to take the risk of running around the streets of Lagos for survival.
The business is risky. We are facing a lot of danger on the highway where we do our business. If we have other profitable job, we will do but since there’s none, we have to keep doing this for survival. The business is not profitable compared to the stress we go through daily. I make N1,000 or less in a day. It depends on how much energy I put in.
SYLVESTER AGO, table water seller (28)
I don’t think the state government will succeed in stopping street trading in Lagos. The situation is not different in Lagos state. We all know the country is not in a good shape. Prices of things are very high and money is not in circulation across the country. I’m doing this business to raise money to begin to express my entrepreneurial skills. The business of hawking on Lagos highways is highly challenging and competitive.
If I have my way, I will quit the business but I haven’t raised enough money to start my own business. I remember, before I started this business, I had written application letters to many offices but to no avail. This is the only business that doesn’t require any application letter or screening. I can remember I started with a pack of table water which I bought for N300. After selling, I deducted the profit and re-invested. This is what I have been doing all this while to earn a living. If the state government no longer wants us here, we will definitely get another source of making daily money.
IGBEBAKU CALEB, rat poison seller (27)
The situation is no longer funny across the state. If I want to sell my goods, it must be on the street for people to see. I can’t sit at home hoping to sell rat poison. This is a kind of business that requires creating awareness to attract buyers. We just have to beg the state government to allow us on the street. I personally know it’s a good idea by the state government to eradicate street trading because it will save a lot of lives due to the risk attached to selling things on the busy road.
I have had several injuries in the cause of selling my rat poison on the road. At the same time, the government should understand we are helpless. We have nobody to reply on. Nigerians are just too rugged, considering the risk. Nobody should be seen on the road selling things. Yet we keep pushing hard.
ESTHER, sachet water seller (28)
I must tell you that I am tired of this country. It’s very sad that the government is not doing anything to help us yet they are trying to step on our own little way of making money, I am a mother of two children I have to feed my two girls even though I haven’t saved enough money to take them to school. This is what I do to feed myself and my girls. It’s very painful that my husband sustained some injuries in the factory where he works as a machine operator. I have no one to help. The government is not helping either. I am still confused. The fact that I will be arrested and sent to jail for trying to earn a living legally is strange.
The state government should just pity us and let us continue with our daily activities. The business is not profitable at all. I buy a pack of sachet water for N100 and I make another N100. Before I get N1,000 a day, I have to sell 10 packs of sachet water. It’s so annoying yet the government doesn’t understand what we are going through.
DARE ADEDAYO, recharge card seller (24)
Street trading can’t be eradicated in Lagos state. I’m sorry for saying this but it’s the truth. If it will be eradicated, then the Lagos state government should find solution to the issue of gridlock across the state. Nigerians can’t spend 10 minutes on Lagos traffic jam without calling for something to eat or buy. I’m not into street trading. I have an umbrella across the road where I do my business, but people will always need my attention on the road since it is a busy road with long traffic.
So, I will urge the state government to tackle gridlock first if street trading should b eradicated.
SOLOMON ALAUSA, plantain chips seller (30)
The move by the state government to ban street trading is what I call wickedness. It is a wrong move, it’s a severe punishment. Under normal circumstance, the state government is supposed to look into the causes of street trading. What are the things that encourage street trading and how can the government tackle the situation should be the question.
The need for Lagos state government to ease traffic on the road is part of it. Effective traffic management should be put in place. Also, the government should help us with affordable shops and stalls where we can display our goods instead of running along Lagos roads to make sales. The punishment placed on street traders is too severe. I can’t imagine going to jail or paying N90,000 fine for selling plantain chips to survive. If I have N90,000, I will not be on the street. Instead, I will get a shop to display my goods I beg the state government to try to put things in place so as to eradicate street trading in a proper way.
- OLUWAFEMI SOEWU