Akure residents express concern over rise in roadside trading

Prior to the administration of the immediate past government of Ondo State, led by Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, roadside trading was a menace in the capital city of Akure, which every successive government failed to address.

But with the coming on board of Mimiko in 2009, a new wave of commercial endeavour swept through the capital city, transforming the age-long form of street and road trading with traders at accident-prone spots relocated to a modern and aesthetically built modern market. Apart from markets, all automobile marts situated along the road were also relocated to a special and befitting environment to keep the road free from accident. But that has become history as they have all relocated to the major roads.

One of such dangerous spots is a new market illegally situated along the popular Oyemekun road at the Leo junction. The market sprouted after the exit of the Mimiko administration after which it became a full blown evening trading centre.

Some of the traders who accepted to speak with our reporter explained that there was no market in the area before but they said they were driven from a piece of land in the area being used for trading purposes. One of them explained that they made frantic efforts “to return to the market situated inside this area, but we were made to understand that the land had been sold out to a politician.”

She however said they decided to stay on the road in the evening to sell their goods in order to make a living, saying “most of us here cannot afford the rent in these shops.”

A vegetable seller, Nkiruka Eze, said she pays N2,000 monthly to some people in order to get approval to mount her  umbrella and display her goods. Even though it was illegal she said she had to pay to secure her source of livelihood.

A pepper trader, who identified herself as Sanmi, said she paid weekly dues to allow her sell her goods. According to her, “I have been coming here every evening for the past 18 months and this is where I feed my family. I am a widow.  This market has nothing to do with traffic; we are not prone to accident here and we have not witnessed any accident here since I started coming to the market. Where do you want us to get money to rent shops? Mimiko built some neighborhood markets before he left but how do we pay for these shops?

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“What we sell here is to keep body and soul together; we use our income to eat and train our children in school. I want to appeal to the state government not to send us away.”

When our correspondent inquired if there was any harassment from government quarters, she added that “there was never a time the government harass us. We reported our plight to the ministry of lands and housing but nothing was done.”

Speaking on the danger of selling by the roadside, one of the traders, Madam Johnson who sells fruits, admitted that selling at the roadside was risky but said the traders and their customers had no option. She recalled one of her customers who narrowly escaped death while crossing the road after leaving the market.

She, however, said that she had decided to continue in roadside trading so as to live up to her responsibility as a mother.

While speaking with our correspondent, one of the regular customers, Mrs Iyabo Lawal, revealed that prices of goods are quite cheap at the walkway side compared to the goods gotten from the market.

She said “most women in this area visit this market while returning from work. It is nearer and you see people coming here to buy vegetables, fruits, pepper and fish.

“All you need to do during transaction is to stand right on the road because the market itself is part of the busy road. We know and understand that the market was illegally located here but it’s succour to this community and other areas.”

Speaking on the plans of the state government to discourage roadside trading, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Segun Ajiboye, said the state government was working hard to discourage roadside trading

He assured that the government would soon come out with people friendly policies that will accommodate all the street traders and would discourage road side trading or market. “This is to safeguard the lives and property of the good people of our dear state,” he said.

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