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Street hawkers; to stay or go?

On Friday, July 1, 2016, Governor Ambode announced that there would be strict enforcement of the law prohibiting street traders from peddling their wares in the Laos Metropolis. In line with Section One of the Lagos State Street Trading and Illegal Market Prohibition Law 2003 which restricts street trading and hawking in the metropolis, both hawkers and buyers will be held liable to either pay a fine of N90,000 or be jailed for 6 months if they are caught.

This has been met with mixed reactions from all over. On one hand, there are those who seem to be more sympathetic to these street traders and have considered the negative impact that this will have on their ability to sustain themselves and their families going forward. On the other hand, some have argued that the benefits of upholding the law far outweigh the consequences in terms of reducing traffic on our roads, reducing safety threats for both hawkers and drivers, and enforcing a sense of discipline in general.

While there is an understanding that with every reform comes the burden that must be borne by some sect of the society, there questions that immediately come to mind that should be answered to ensure active citizen inclusion in making decisions.

Is this a case of discipline vs social justice? Are there any palliative measures that can be offered to soften the blow, and should this be a priority? We want to know what you think, so please use the comment section to answer these questions, or raise any others that should be at the fore of our minds.

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