Ambode is chasing hawkers away from the street and into the waiting arms of social vices.
Lagos feels different these days; new laws are put in place every now and then but the latest addition to this collection isn’t looking as good as the governor intended. A ban has been placed on street hawking with the consequences being a fine of 90,000 or 9 months in prison for both buyer and seller.
People are already having their say because not only is buying items on the road a fundamental part of being a Nigerian, it is a source of income for those who still look for honourable ways to make money, and serves as one of the backbones of music distribution in Nigeria. For the love of God, there would have been no Olajumoke the bread seller without street hawking - Which makes me ask, HOW ARE WE TO GET BREAD?????
Why Do People Hawk?
The sad reality is that for most street hawkers, they hawk not because they want but because they have to. It doesn’t take much to become a petty thief in this economy but some will still take their chances making a profit of 500 Naira per day hawking fruits or gala in traffic. Stores are expensive to rent and even more expensive to maintain. An example of a failed project to curtail street hawking is the new Tejuosho ultra-mordern market at Yaba which as we speak has 95% of its store spaces still intact because of the cost implication on sellers.
What Are People Saying?
Everyone has what he believes and I think for the most part we all correct in our own sense.
- There is the issue of the young sellers being prone to certain things like rape for the young females, young girls who hawk goods end up almost too often been raped. This is not a good thing and it makes it a risky business for most girls pushed into the business by their caretaker but what happens when they quit this job because of the new law? Having no other way to earn a living, some if not most would gladly exchange sex for money... but you can say at least now it’s their choice.
- There is the issue of highway robbery. Have you ever been robbed on the highway? Personally, no, but I do know a handful of victims. You cannot punish every street hawker for the actions of a few pretend street hawkers and the ineptness of the law enforcement agencies. If anything has to be done about this, it should be strengthening the police and highway patrol, not taking away a job that gives more than it takes.
- There is the issue of it being illegal in the first place and should not even exist.
- There is the issue of the street hawkers constituting a nuisance on the road causing congestions almost on every road but really though? You cannot blame traffic congestion on a little human traffic.
Here are my two cents on the issue; this is an attempt in futility much like the past administration’s attempt to get motorcycle riders in helmets. Street hawking may or may not have such negative effect in the society but if this is to end like this, a countermeasure should be put in place so the people who benefitted from hawking don’t resort to worse things to make money.