The Lagos State chapter of KOWA Party has condemned the approach of the Lagos State Government in enforcing the ban on street trading in the state.
The party said although Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s approach to governance in the last one year was commendable, the recent move by the state government to ban street trading was not well planned.
The party said the problem of street trading could be solved in a more humane manner.
The party, in a statement issued by its acting Chairman in Lagos State, Dr. Fajuyitan Fadahunsi, said the majority of hawkers chose to sell their wares on the streets because of poverty.
It, therefore, warned that the enforcement of the Lagos State Street Trading and Illegal Markets Law of 2003 might increase the rate of crime in the state.
The party said, “While we commend the governor for finally noticing one of the many problems facing Lagos State and its residents, we are appalled by his rash reaction. We believe this is a problem that can be solved in a more humane manner, seeing that these traders didn’t set to become criminals and would most likely willingly engage in legitimate business, earn a living, pay their taxes and contribute positively to the society.
“When decisions are made by those who lead, consequences follow. In this case, there are consequences for both the passengers, who patronise hawkers in long hours of traffic and the hawkers, who have to earn a living by risking their lives to sell products that they usually cannot even use.
“We believe that rather than just arrest these people, put them in jail or impose a big fine on them, the government can be creative with the implementation of its N25bn ETF funds which it planned to use to help traders in the state.”
The KOWA Party, therefore, advised the Lagos State Government to send officials into the streets to educate Lagosians about the fund and the procedures to access it.
The party also frowned on the mode of revenue collection adopted by the men of the National Union of Road Transport Workers.
It asked Governor Ambode to meet the leaders of the NURTW “to devise better and safer ways of revenue collection.”