3rd November, 2022
As the yuletide draws nearer, the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Central Business Districts, Mr Gbenga Oyerinde has warned traders to stop displaying wares on the roads, walkways, medians, road- setbacks, bus stops, and drainage alignments as well as motorists against illegal parking.
Mr Oyerinde gave the warning on the backdrop of traders and motorists turning the roads and drainage alignments to car spaces and illegal shanties just to make brisk sales and quick turnover.
He warned traders, particularly those on the Lagos Island and Ikeja Business Districts and its environs, to vacate the roads or face heavy sanctions.
He said no one is permitted to convert the roads, medians, set-backs and walkways to markets or street shops.
Mr Oyerinde lamented that despite appeals from the government, some traders are still violating environmental laws.
He said the State government would no longer tolerate lawlessness by any trader no matter how highly placed they are in the society especially as the yuletide draws nearer.
“Our focus is to maintain sanity in our business districts which are now dotted with all manners of shanties and illegal structures, such as attachments to shops, business premises and containers. We cannot fold our arms and allow distortion of the master plan of the business districts to continue, therefore our enforcement officers have been empowered to sanction any illegality”, he said.
According to him, Section (1) of the Lagos State Street Trading and Illegal Markets Prohibition Law of 2003 which prohibits both buyers and sellers from engaging in business activities at an unauthorized place is still in force and CBD will not compromise in its enforcement.
He noted that walkways are meant for pedestrians to walk and not for trading activities so as to give room for motorists to enjoy smooth vehicular movement.
He maintained that as the yuletide approaches, there is an increasing number of hawkers on the major highways, streets and roads within the business districts which poses a grave security risk for motorists as criminals disguised as hawkers exploit slow traffic opportunities to dispossess people of their valuables.
His words “It has become worrisome that Lagos Island Business Districts which usually witnessed a high influx of people during yuletide with resultant effects of spending many hours in traffic is being worsened by illegal traders who create an artificial bottleneck for people of shady characters to rob and dispossess people of their valuables.
“We cannot tolerate this illegality therefore we have to continually warn and sanction illegal street traders because the state government is also out to protect the lives of these illegal traders from avoidable circumstances such as accidents from reckless private or commercial drivers, container laden trucks, among others who may be in hurry to make quick returns”.
The Special Adviser said the agency was stepping up its operations and ensuring total clampdown and sanctioning recalcitrant traders not yielding to the various warnings and advocacy against hawking, street trading, and illegal parking in different parts of the business districts.
He said, “our enforcement officers are now on regular patrol along the CBDs axis and have been mandated to improve on their performances in a way that traders, shoppers and other stakeholders will appreciate and feel safe to transact their businesses”.
The Special Adviser promised residents and visitors a smooth and reduced crime season within the Ikeja and Lagos Island Business Districts, saying extreme measures are in place to curtail violence and other activities that may constitute a breach of security. Such measures, according to him, will include useful public enlightenment, regular patrol, surveillance, community relations and intelligence report to crime fighters.
While calling on the public to draw the attention of the agency to actions and activities that could threaten the peace of the business districts, Mr Oyerinde called on market leaders and community development associations to support the agency in ensuring activities of these illegal traders are put under check to make the roads free for motorists and other road users across the business districts.