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Ban on street trading goes full throttle in Lagos

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Goods confiscated by KAI officials into a Black Maria

Goods confiscated by KAI officials into a Black Maria

KOWA Party condemns move

Hundreds of street traders were on Monday arrested in different parts of Lagos metropolis by men of the Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI), for hawking on the streets. The governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, had last week Friday announced the enforcement of law banning street trading and hawking.

Ambode, who was speaking on a live TV interview, warned that the law stipulates six months jail term or N90,000 fine for offenders. The governor said the renewed enforcement was 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.

The Guardian gathered that KAI officials were picking up street hawkers’ for allegedly violating the law. The traders were picked up at densely populated areas such asMaryland, Oshodi, Ikeja, Ojota, Ojuelegba, and Obalende.

Goods were confiscated while violators were ushered into the taskforce’s waiting van, popularly called Black Maria.

It would be recalled that riot broke out last week in Maryland following the killing of a hawker by an articulated vehicle.

The deceased was trying to evade arrest by KAI officials before he ran into the speeding truck.

Following the killing, some buses under the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) scheme belonging to Primero Transport Services, were allegedly destroyed by hoodlums, who were venting their grievance for the hawker’s death.

However, reacting to the ban on street trading and renewed onslaught by enforcement agencies, the Lagos State chapter of KOWA Party in an open letter to the governor, has described the development as an inhuman knee-jerk reaction.

In the letter signed by its acting chairman, Dr. Fajuyitan Fadahunsi, the party noted that street trading/hawking is a problem for road users and a dangerous venture for citizens risking their lives on the highways.

According to the party, the problem can be solved in a more humane manner, as the men and women who have chosen to be street hawkers have done so as a last resort having refused the option of crime.

“We believe this is a problem that can be solved in a more humane manner seeing that these people didn’t decide to be willing tools in the hands of criminal elements, but have resorted to earn a living doing legitimate business.

“If this new law announced by the governor, a flagrant contradiction of the Lagos State Street Trading and Illegal Markets Law of 2003, which stipulates a fine of N5,000 or three months imprisonment upon conviction, is fully implemented, there would be an increase in crime in the state,” the party warned.

The party stated that rather than just arrest the hawkers, slam them in jail or impose a huge fine on them, the government can be creative with its implementation of its proposed N25 billion Employment Trust Fund (ETF).


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