Chaos in Lagos Computer Village as street traders defy govt

Despite the stance of the Lagos state government to go tough on anyone engaging in street trading across the State, many Information Communication Technology traders have continued with street trading and hawking in the major streets of the Nigerian silicon valley, the Computer Village Ikeja.

This comes few days after Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos stated his resolve to enforce an existing law, prohibiting street trading . 

It would be recalled that following the crisis provoked by the death of a hawker who was reportedly crushed while trying to evade arrest by officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency, Ambode had decided to enforce the provisions of the Street Trading and Illegal Market Prohibition Law 2003.

Although the ban has received serious condemnations from different quarters, the Lagos State Government had said that anybody engaging in street trading would be liable to pay either a fine of N90,000 or get a six-month jail term. 

But a close monitoring of market activities in the largest ICT market in West Africa, the Computer Village Ikeja at the weekend revealed that many youths are still hawking various ICT products in the major streets of the market including Orameji, Otigba, among others. 

Some of these traders who spoke to Sun Tech News yesterday lamented that the ban had made life unbearable for them. A pirated software seller along Oremeji street who only identified himself as Chibuzo said that sales had dropped drastically for him since the ban as a result of what he described as incessant harassments from the law enforcement agents.

“But how do you want me to survive? I cannot afford to pay for shop. I do not have the financial strength to do that. I am a father of four. I have to pay bills. Hawking is better than robbery. Government should create an enabling environment for low income earners to thrive. That is the only way to go otherwise there will be more militancies”, he lamented. 

Also speaking, a phone seller in Otigba street of the market who did not want her name in print said that the Lagos state government was insensitive following the ban.

“Hawking in the street of this market is better than prostitution. The people you see in this street are responsible. Some are married. Some are still single. Some of them have one family responsibility or the other. The government should provide an alternative for the street traders who cannot afford to pay for full shops. But one must survive”, she explained.

Source: Vanguard 


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