Lagos State government on Friday said it had commenced a total enforcement of the law against street trading and street hawking, saying that the law would take its full course to punish both the sellers and the buyers.
The state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, who spoke on Friday at a live interview session on Television Continental (TVC), said that 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.
He said henceforth, the buyer and the seller are both liable to a fine of N90,000 or a six-month jail term if caught based on the existing law in the state.
He sympathised with the family of a street hawker who was knocked down by an articulated truck while trying to evade arrest from officials of Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) on Maryland Bus stop on Wednesday, regretting that the situation led to the destruction of public assets.
“It is not in our DNA to allow someone to just die by road accident or the way it happened in respect of the incident. But beyond the fact that we lost one person while crossing the road as a result of evading arrest by KAI officials, I need to tell Lagosians that over 49 buses were actually destroyed and it is costing us like almost N139 million to put those buses back on the road,” he said.
Ambode said the State Executive Council had consequently resolved to enforce the law, which, according to him, makes both the hawker and the buyer liable of the offence.
“The issue is we need to enforce our laws because we already have a law in respect of that and then there is a clause in it which says the buyer and the seller are both liable and that we are going to fine them either N90, 000 or a six-month jail term.
“What we are doing on traffic is that we are introducing new strategies to eliminate traffic, but Lagos being a cosmopolitan city, you cannot totally eliminate it but now this is the case, in the next few days, you will see on the street of Lagos signs that will be warning you that buyers and hawkers should be aware that there are consequences,” Governor Ambode said.
He said his administration had also concluded plans to roll out a massive campaign which would warn both motorists and hawkers of the restrictions and the penalty for defaulters.
“We will be watching out for buyers and sellers and all we need is just scapegoat. Don’t buy plantain chips or any other item in traffic from July 1, buyers beware,” Governor Ambode warned.
He said aside the environmental hazards associated with the activities of street traders and hawkers alike, they also pose great security and health risks.
“A whole lot of people who are hawkers, when you check them, I understand from intelligence that there is a cartel. Some people buy fake products and then bring the products in and then give these boys to sell on the street and come back to make returns in the night.
“So, what I want to advise Lagosians is that most times when you think you are buying something of quality on the road, be rest assured that those things are fake products,” Governor Ambode said.
He, however, said that much as the state government intended to be civil in enforcing the law, some recalcitrant persons tried to subvert the process, hence the need to ensure total compliance with the law.
Asked what plans the government had for unemployed graduates who had taken to street hawking, Governor Ambode said that his administration had launched a N25billion Employment Trust Fund, urging them to access the fund.
Ambode, while answering questions on future plans of his administration, assured that greater attention would be given to the health and education sectors, saying empowerment of the youth and the elderly would also get the needed attention.
“In the last eight years, while the immediate past governor actually did a lot to improve on health, you will also see that what he provided was not even enough to cater for all the people coming into Lagos.
“Now, this second year, I can tell you freely that we are facing majorly the health sector, education sector, the issue of elderly people and then the youths. We believe that in the next twelve months which we are starting now, you will see a major escalation of the quality of the facilities we are going to provide in our hospitals,” Governor Ambode said.
Lagos street hawkers defy Ambode
It was business as usual on Friday, on the Iyana Ipaja –Abule Egba axis, in Agbado Oke Odo Local Council Development Area of Lagos on Friday as street hawkers defied the Lagos State government’s directive, banning hawking on Lagos roads as from yesterday, July 1.
For instance, on Agege Motor Road, before the overhead bridge in Iyana Ipaja, hawkers of various items like sachet water, gala and biscuits were seen running after prospective customers, despite the ban on their activities.
While no official of the Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) was around to enforce the ban, some of the hawkers who spoke with Saturday Tribune claimed ignorance of such laws, while wondering what would probably turn out to be their fate if such laws were enforced.
“I no dey aware of the ban, where we wan go now?’ was Martins’ response to Saturday Tribune, when asked what he was still doing on the streets in spite of the ban.
Though Tawa, who hawks sachet water in Abule Egba, was also not aware of the development, she, however, argued that there was no time the law allowed street trading.
“We are only doing all these at our own risk. Why do you think we always run each time we see the KAI officials? So I’m not really surprised,” she stated.
Task Force, KAI commence full enforcement today — Source
Following the declaration made by Governor Ambode that the state government would commence full enforcement of law against street trading and hawkers as from Friday July 1, 2016, enforcement agencies said it would be all out on Saturday (today) to carry out the directives and give daily accounts of their activities.
The agencies in charge of the exercise include the Lagos State Task Force on Environmental Sanitation and Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI).
A source close to the agencies disclosed this to Saturday Tribune, saying that the directive of the governor was clear as he spoke on the television.
The source said that it was certain that the full enforcement of the law would start on Saturday (today).
“We didn’t go out today [Friday], but I can assure you we are going out tomorrow [today] to commence full compliance on the part of the traders, hawkers and buyers.
“But we shall always be giving you the update of the arrest of those involved,” the source said.