Of street trading and abandoned trucks

Lagos, the commercial capital city of Nigeria, no doubt is a place with its own challenges, which government tackles through one form of legislation or the other.

Following the recent fiasco at Maryland area where a street hawker ran into a moving truck that eventually crushed him to death as he was trying to escape arrest by the officials of Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI), a development that led the victim’s colleagues to attack and destroy a total of 49 BRT buses with the repair cost put at N139 million, the Lagos State government reinforced its commitment to zero tolerance on street trading.

But what has been the situation on the ground as being witnessed in the state is that it is perhaps going to be difficult to carry out the order. This is because on major highways in the state, hawkers still have free day doing their businesses as if the law does not exist, while buyers who have so much got accustomed to doing their shopping on the streets or highways still don’t care a hoot on what the government is saying on prohibition, and the law enforcers appear to be helpless in such circumstance.

So if those alleged abuses are happening on highways under the gaze of the operatives who have been put in charge to apprehend the offenders, what excuse can one then offer if such becomes the order of the day around the secretariat in Alausa, the seat of power in Lagos where street trading is being conducted unrestricted? And this is more so when such venture is taking place in an area very close by the headquarters of Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI), an agency primarily put in charge of enforcing ban on street trading in the state.

Come to the front of the police station at Alausa on the Obafemi Awolowo Road at a place where the traffic light is situated, you cannot fail to see  hawkers of groundnuts positioning themselves, waiting for the traffic light to flash red to send signal that it is time to jump on the road to ply their wares to the motorists and passengers alike. It is indeed a strategic spot to make their money on a daily basis, while others still ply their various wares as they move around the secretariat unchallenged.

Again, it  appears that the frontage of the police station at Alausa is becoming a spot for abandoned vehicles! No, don’t let one jump into conclusion yet because sometime ago when a truck was abandoned on the same spot for several days, maybe months, and a picture of the affected vehicles was flashed on Lagos Metro page of our sister paper, the Nigerian Tribune, the authorities quickly rose to the occasion and removed it in a jiffy. This time, one can find more than one truck abandoned on that same spot and it is absolutely the only spot on the entire stretch of Obafemi Awolowo Road down from Ikeja to the Secretariat where such abandoned trucks could be found. So we believe the authorities would rise up fast like they did in the past to remove them without any delay.