The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) on Monday condemned the ban on street trading by the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode-led Lagos State government.
CACOL in a statement said the ban represent the increasing the sufferings of the poor and toiling people who ordinarily are trying under the present extremely harsh economic conditions to fend for themselves.
Majority of Lagosians and Nigerians have had to resort to self-help almost on every facet of life consequent upon the gross failure of government to fulfill its constitutional role of provisioning for the welfare and social security of the citizens.
The ill-thought ban if violated will attract 6 months imprisonment or 90 thousand naira fine according to reports.
Comrade Debo Adeniran, Executive Chairman of CACOL questioned the logic behind the ban when those that are going to be affected are largely already 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.
Adeniran observed that “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.”
He said, ‘’one would expect a government that promised what was presumed to be positive ‘change’ during electioneering campaigns to alleviate the sufferings of the people 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.”
CACOL is aware that street trading is a global phenomenon even in the other mega cities of the world which Lagos wants to emulate. What such societies did was to organize the poor income earners like street traders in such a way that they do not constitute nuisances as they carry out their activities.
Adeniran said “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.”
The Executive Chairman continued, saying “It is important to highlight that it is 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.”
The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL, while commending the Ambode regime for some noticeable developmental projects being implemented across the state and encouraging the government not to relent, would not want the regime to snatch with left hand what it has offered the poor Lagosians with the right hand.
“It is imperative to note that, this ban if allowed to stay, is also going 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.
In concluding, he said, “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. It is the constitutional responsibility of government to cater for the security and welfare of the people. It is the duty of government to protect the poor and downtrodden and their interests not just the interests of the rich few. Lagos is both for the poor and the rich; at this rate Governor Ambode is gradually towing the line of his wicked predecessor who ensured that the pains and sufferings of the ordinary poor Lagosians were escalated beyond incredible limits when he ruled.”