Hawkers Want New Markets In Lagos

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The unregistered National Association of Street Traders and Hawkers (NASTH) on Tuesday urged the Lagos State Government to create new markets in the state.

The association’s Chairman, Mr. Alex Omotehinse told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the dearth of markets and the prohibitive rent of shops had forced members into hawking.

He suggested that such traders should be reorganized and resettled in markets.

“Banning hawking is good because of the danger it poses to lives, but hawkers should be organized into a marketplace to ply their trade.

“If they are resettled in affordable modern market stalls or lock up shops, it will enable them to pay taxes to the state from their daily sales.

“We appeal to the state government to build new markets so that we can have a place to carry out our businesses,” Omotehinse said.

He, however, urged the state government to check the excesses of Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) officials.

“Apart from extorting hawkers, KAI officials arrest our members and put them in Black Maria on daily basis before taking them to mobile courts.

“And if they are unlucky not to have someone to bail them, they may be left to rot away in the prison.

“Hawkers are also providing jobs and contributing to the economic growth of the state and they should be encouraged to carry out their legitimate businesses in organized markets,” he added.

Omotehinse said most of the hawkers were forced into the job because of unemployment and the need to make a living.

“Some of the people who have taken to hawking are holders of National Certificate of Education, retired or sacked workers and the unemployed.

“Some undergraduates, particularly girls are also hawking to augment their fees and out-of-pocket allowance,” the NASTH boss said.