Activists support Gov. Sanwo-Olu's closure of markets, total ban on street trading


Gov. Sanwo-Olu of Lagos

By Oluwatope Lawanson

A coalition of activists in Lagos State has expressed its support for Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s decision to close certain markets and impose a total ban on street trading.

The spokesperson, Mr Declan Ihekaire, who spoke on behalf of the activists, gave their support at a news conference on Sunday at Ikeja.

The Lagos Government, in an effort to address environmental issues such as poor sanitation, indiscriminate waste disposal, and mismanagement of waste, recently closed Mile 12 and Owode Onirin Markets.

This action follows the earlier closure of Ladipo Market, Oyingbo Market, Alamutu Ologede Market, and Ile-Epo Market due to alleged violations and non-compliance with environmental laws.

The activists were drawn from various right groups under the aegis of Veteran Activists who are Mr Declan Ihekaire, Mr Femi Lawson, Mr Rasak Oladosu.

Others includes, Mr Dayo Ogunlana, Mr Akintunde Adedeji, Mr Shina Loremikan, Jubril Ogundimu, Gbenga Soloki, Tobi Jude, and Oyinlola Akande.

Ihekaire, who is the National Coordinator of Concerned Human Rights in Nigeria, said that the state government’s decision to ban street trading, hawking, and close certain markets was a welcome decision and a step in the right direction.

He maintained that the ban was necessary due to the flagrant disobedience and arbitrary violation of the Lagos State Street Trading and Illegal Markets Law of 2023.

The spokesman said the ban was to combat the activities of criminals perpetrate acts of violence against unsuspecting individuals, including robbing motorists and causing disruptions to traffic flow.

In light of these developments, Ihekaire urged the government to enforce the ‘Lagos State Environmental Management Law of 2017’ which aims to regulate and manage environmental issues in the state more effectively.

Ihekaire said that the state government’s ban was to curb the activities of criminals who, under the guise of trading or hawking, unleash mayhem on unsuspecting innocent people, rob motorists, and disrupt the free flow of traffic.

“Statutorily, the government’s main duty is the protection of the lives and properties of its citizens, including their welfare and well-being.

“Aside from the loss of lives and valuables occasioned by the menace of criminals who disguise themselves as traders and hawkers, as well as the attacks on motorists, some hawkers are known to have died in road accidents.

“There are also traffic jams caused by street trading, which impedes the free flow of vehicular movement,” he said.

Related News

The activist charged street hawkers to leverage other opportunities in the state government to better themselves.

“Lagos has 19 vocational centres where they can learn any trade of their choice at no cost. When they graduate, they will receive free equipment.

“Health is wealth, and cleanliness is next to godliness. A healthy environment produces equally healthy and productive people.

“We, Veteran Activists, are known rights activists of different political views, but we always find a common ground to either support good government policies or criticise the government when the need arises,” Ihekaire said.

He also stated that Lagos may be heading towards a state of lawlessness if the government fails to swiftly enforce the law to curb the gradual return of commercial motorbikes, popularly called Okada to restricted routes.

The activists, therefore, urged the state government to take action against what the group described as ‘unhealthy march to chaos’

He alleged that findings showed that an alliance between the riders, the transportation unions, and some law enforcement agencies had fueled the return of this menace.

“This brings us to the gradual return of commercial motorbikes to the routes on which they have been restricted.

“If this is not swiftly checked with the enforcement of the law, we will be heading for a state of lawlessness.

“This cannot be right. The government should wake up to arrest this unhealthy march to chaos,” Ihekaire said.

In his remarks, Lawson, the National Secretary Campaign for Democracy, urged the state government to ensure the enforcement of environmental law.

“Government must ensure the serious implementation of the laws it has made as many of us have fallen victim, having been robbed on several occasions in traffic.

On his part, Mr Dayo Ogunlana of Coalition of Oodua Self Determination Groups, urged the Lagos State House of Assembly to speedily pass a bill into law to regulate street trading and hawking in the state.

Similarly, Mr Rasak Oladosu, charged government on tackling the challenges of incessant flooding in the state.

Load more