The Lagos State government has further empowered the Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) agency to restrict street trading by fully enforcing the environmental law. The environmental law which is stated in section 1 of the street trading and illegal market prohibition law 2003, restricts street trading and hawking in the metropolis. Also, sections 7 and 8 of the same law give jurisdiction and power to the special court to order the seizure and public auction of items impounded from street trader. Section 10 of the law prescribes the sum of N5,000 as fine or three months imprisonment.
ENCOMIUM Weekly had a chat with some of the street traders at Ogba and Agege about how they have been coping and what they have lost.
Mrs. Abosede is one of the street traders at Ogba bus stop and she sells roast plantain. She shared her views on the situation. “We now have to sell in the evening because of the Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) officials.
“We have lost a lot since the invasion of KAI. We have lost our customers and also money. Before, I made up to N2,000 but now I make only N500 because we have to start business in the evening and sometimes at night.
“The invasion was without notice. The government should be thinking of how to solve issues not to complicate them. By doing this, they are complicating issues because my family depends on me for food and shelter. Now, that I don’t sell very well, how can I cater for my family.
I have lost a lot since the invasion by KAI officials. I have lost many customers and some of my wares are spoilt because I couldn’t sell them on time. The government should try to help us. They should consider us because my husband doesn’t have a job and I’m the one paying all our bills including my children’s school fees, but now that the government said we shouldn’t sell here again, I will have to stop my children’s education.
Mrs. Enoh (Ogba)
There is no risk attached to us staying here because since we have been here, none of us has fallen victim of accident. The government should pity us because some of us are widows like me. I’m the only one my children can run to for help. Nobody wants to help.
We are pleading with the government to let us sell our goods because since they stopped us, things have not been easy for me. Now, I have to wait until evening before I can sell my goods and I have lost a lot of customers.
We have lost some of our wares in the process of trying to avoid the KAI officials. Some of our goods were taken away by the KAI officials and some were damaged while some of us were wounded.
Mrs. Bose (Ogba)
We have lost all our customers and our wares. We can’t even eat two times a day because it is from the gain I make I buy food for me and my family.
The government should allow us to sell because most of the people selling here are the ones catering for their families. Moreover, we sometimes pay for this place.
Mrs. Bisi (Agege)
I have lost a lot. All my pepper was thrown away when the KAI officials came. I lost almost N20,000 worth of pepper. It is really a big loss. We now bring out our goods at 7pm when the KAI officials had left and due to that we don’t get enough customers and we make less profit.
Mrs. Adunni (Agege)
I have recorded a huge loss because all my goods are spoilt. My wares don’t take long before I sell them. They get spoilt and I have to throw them away. The government should consider us. They should let us be. After demolishing our houses, they still chase us away from where we sell things.
Mrs. Suliatu (Agege)
We were not given notice. They only warned us about selling by the roads side. The government should provide us a space where we can sell our goods because the space available has already been occupied.
We have lost our customers and some of our goods were taken away by the KAI officials. If you take a look at our market, you will see that it’s not filled up.
ENCOMIUM Weekly spoke with the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI), Tunde Olusesi about the issue.
What are the reasons behind the invasion?
The fact is that street trading or hawking in Lagos is bad and there is a law against it. The environmental sanitation law doesn’t allow street trading or hawking for three major reasons. The first is environmental reason, the second is safety and the third is security. They constitute environmental nuisance on the street.
The law is about the safety of the people (sellers) and the buyers. Some of these street traders and hawkers are not really trading or hawking. They are just there to snatch people’s valuables.
They complained that you did not give them notice, what is your say about that?
The fact is that we engage in advocacy. We go to their locations and enlighten them on the reasons they shouldn’t sell by the roadside and some of them complied.
Will the government provide space or shops for them?
The government has provided shops or an open space for them but they are on the streets in other to sell faster.
Will your agency sustain this law?
We have been sustaining this law for a long time. We just want them to comply voluntarily. We have already enlightened them on the dangers involved.
- GIDEON ONIYIDE