The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL, on Monday condemned the ban on street trading by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, describing the action as insensitive, as there was no alternative provided.
CACOL said the ban will increase the sufferings of the poor and toiling people trying to survive under the extremely harsh economic conditions.
Debo Adeniran, Executive Chairman, CACOL, in a statement, said under this harsh economic condition, majority of Lagosians and Nigerians had to resort to self-help almost on every facet of life following the failure of government to fulfill its constitutional role of providing for the welfare and social security of the citizens.
“The ill-thought ban, if violated will attract six months imprisonment or N90,000 fine. We question the logic behind the ban when those that are going to be affected are largely the impoverished consequent upon the failure of government in facilitating gainful employment opportunities on one hand and failure in service delivery by the government, on the other.
“The existing retail markets are too expensive for the average trader while they are too remote, rough or lacking in basic facilities that could make them attractive to those who would have patronized them. One would expect a government that promised what was presumed to be positive ‘change’ during electioneering campaigns to alleviate the sufferings of the people and to understand that the conditions of living of these categories of persons who engage in street trading cannot but get worsened should their source of earning the pittance they live on be blocked following the ban on street trading,” he said.
Adeniran described street trading as a global phenomenon even in the other mega cities of the world which Lagos wanted to emulate, adding that what such societies did was to organize the poor income earners like street traders in such a way that they did not constitute nuisances as they carried out their activities.
“It is all about social inclusion; the governance and governance policies must be all inclusive. Those that will be affected by this ban are also Lagosians who pay taxes and most likely voted for the present government, it is therefore a betrayal of the hope and trust they reposed in the government.
“It is important to highlight that it was the women, most of whom are the ‘economic managers’ of the families that would largely be affected and this makes the effect of the ban very deep-seated on family livelihood, the livelihood of the cradle of every society,” he said.
Adeniran, while commending the Ambode’s regime for some noticeable developmental projects being implemented across the state, said the body would not want the regime to snatch with the left hand what it had offered the poor Lagosians with the right hand.
“It is imperative to note that this ban if allowed to stay, is also going to create avenue for the traditionally unruly Lagos State paraphernalia of security outfits like KAI, LASTMA and the police to harass, extort, maim and even kill poor people who are only struggling to exist.” Adeniran warned.
“We therefore call for the quashing or humane amendment of the insensitive law that outrightly put blanket ban on street trading without providing viable, accessible and affordable alternative means of livelihood for the victims of the ban. We also call on government to create employment opportunities that will automatically make street trading unattractive to the practitioners,” he said.