The new street hawking law in Lagos State makes it an offence for traders to hawk on the streets; the law, therefore, proposes a fine of N90,000 to both the hawker and whoever patronises them. This law came after the state government signed a smart city agreement with the City of Dubai. The state government intends to make Lagos one of the truly developed modern cities in the world. However, it is important for our leaders to have the fear of God while proposing policies. First, Nigeria is a peculiar place; we have millions of unemployed graduates who are hawkers or Okada riders. How do we expect such people to survive when we take them off the streets? How many people are unemployed in Dubai? Or is the state government providing social support for those who are unemployed? Now, some people keep themselves away from crime through the little ways they earn a living, like through Okada business, or hawking. How do such people now survive with this new policy.
While not saying it is right for citizens to be hawking on the highways, as it constitute danger to them, but the truth is that the survival instinct in all of us overcome the fear of danger.
Now, until the government has successfully provided for all unemployed youths, it has no justification to be embarking on policies that take food away from their tables.
- Samson Tonge,