Heartbroken street hawkers in Lagos have speak out their minds on how the Lagos ban on hawking will affect them. Read below what they told Punch correspondent Arukaino Umukoro and Gbenga Adeniji:
We are hustlers not thieves
I hope that the government has provided jobs for us before taking the decision. If the situation is going to continue that way, it means that I have to start thinking of when to return to Ebonyi State. I have always wanted to go into rice farming.
But why are our leaders so wicked? They were promising the unemployed monthly salary before the last election but everything changed after the election. Now, they want us not to hawk again. I feed myself from the money I make. I do not have dependants but I cater for myself. I know that it is risky for us to be hawking on the road. But how do we survive?
We are not stealing. We are only trying to provide jobs for ourselves because the government has not been able to do so. In my own case, I have saved lives and continue to do so with what I hawk. I hawk sausages while some hawk cold water in traffic.
When drivers and passengers are hungry, they cannot get down from the car and find a place to eat. They only look around to see if they can find anybody hawking what they quickly buy to eat till they get to their destinations. Do you know how many lives would have been lost if these people have nothing to eat in traffic? I have saved more lives than whatever some of my colleagues did to warrant the decision. It is true that they are our leaders but they should know that we would want to do other jobs if they are available than hawking and risking our lives in traffic.
- Gov’t should provide jobs for us
I try not to hawk in Lagos again because of the disturbance from officials of the Kick Against Indiscipline. If a total ban is what the Lagos State Government now places on hawking, then I cannot even consider hawking in the state again. We are suffering and there is no job to do. I am not happy hawking educational and hairstyle posters. I want a good job that can take me away from the street. But there is nothing I can do if I am yet to get such a job. I want the government to provide jobs for us. I cater for myself. The profit that I make on the posters that I hawk is not much. Each sells for N200. I will continue to pray and hope the situation improves in Nigeria. I am from Anambra State and my family members are aware that I am not a lazy person. If I get a better job than this, I will do it. I stay in the sun from morning till evening. I have to hustle and I can’t steal. I just pray that the same thing will not happen in other states across the country.
- Govt should pity us
I am not going to hawk in Lagos again if that is the new position of the state government on hawking. I would not want to go to jail. I also think it is bad for the government to take this kind of decision when it is aware that we are suffering. Many of the things we sell in traffic will perish if we have to stay in one place to sell them. For instance, I sell puff puff, which can get bad after few hours. We have to go out to look for customers and not the customers looking for us. I will be happy if the Lagos State Government can reconsider the decision and pity us. It will make things easy for us. I prefer to struggle to survive than steal. I have nobody except God.
- I survive on hawking
I have a daughter and I am doing this work because I didn’t go to school. I cannot get a good job. Hawking soft drinks is a way to survive for me and my daughter. Sometimes, I make N1,000 on a good day but sometimes even less than that. Things are hard now and many people do not buy things from us as they used to do. I hope Governor Akinwunmi Ambode will pity us. He should not ban us from doing this job. This is the only trade I do.
— Maryam Akindele
- I support my husband with hawking
I do not support the ban on hawking by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode because it does not help hawkers in any way. I sell bottled water, drinks and sausage rolls to support my husband and take care of my daughter. Even at that, it is not easy for us. If the governor wants us to stop this job, the state government should provide another job for us so that our families do not suffer.
— Aminat Taofeek
- I feed three children as a widow
I don’t support the ban on hawking on the road by the Lagos State government. It will affect us because hawking is the only means of livelihood for me and my three children. My husband is late. I would not be doing this kind of work if my husband was still alive but harsh circumstances forced me into it. This trade is my source of livelihood. If the state government bans hawking, how do they want me and my children to feed and fend for ourselves? I don’t think it is fair on us. If they want to ban hawking, then they should build a market for us where we can stay to sell our goods.
— Zainab Suleiman
- Ambode should give me N100,000 for business
I have heard about the ban on hawking by the Lagos State Government. But I don’t really know what to say about it. I am confused. Maybe the government feels it is a good thing, who am I to complain? But then, I think if the state government wants us to stop hawking our goods on the road, they should provide another source of livelihood for us. I don’t mind if Governor Akinwunmi Ambode can give me like N70,000 or N100,000 to start a business. I won’t hawk again once I get the money as support. But for now, this is the only business I know how to do. Lagos State Government should help us.
— Bukky Wasilat
- Ban’ll affect my family
My family feeds from the proceeds of hawking. How does the government want us to survive if they stop us from hawking? On a good day, I make about N800 or N1000 selling sausage rolls. But every day, we are forced to pay the local government council N200 before we can ply our trade. Two hundred naira from the small amount we make every day is a lot. Not only that, it is from that amount that I pay for my transport fare daily. I hawk from Alagbado to Ikeja every day to sell my wares. At the end of the day, I only have a small amount as profit. The total ban on our trade will affect us greatly.
— Idowu Akinlade