– Human rights group says the ban on street trading is anti-people and will not be obeyed
– Group says the Lagos state government must listen to the call of the people
– House of Assembly principal officers attend to the people after their protest to Alausa
The 2003 Lagos state law that banned street trading and hawking may be rescinded, if the speech by a lawmaker is anything to go by. The Centre for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) on Thursday, July 28, walked against the ban on street trading, hawking in the state which the present governor, Akunwunmi Ambode has vowed to implement. According to the law, anyone found guilty of selling or buying in traffic would be jailed for six months with an option of N90,000 fine, a situation which the group has seriously countered. During the protest in Lagos, the chairman of the group, Alex Omotehinwa, told NAIJ.com correspondent that any anti-people law must be disobeyed and condemned by the people, especially when the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages.
“This law by the Lagos state government is not one which we shall accept in anyway. This law is anti-people and considering the poverty in the land, it is not appropriate for the state governor to throw the people off the streets and not provide an option for them. “Why would they be on the streets if they had N90,000 to pay for shops?
The governor said the reason they decided to start clamping down on the street traders is because of the death of a trader in Maryland. That’s a big lie. The governor also came out to say that over 40 BRT buses were destroyed and it would require millions to fix them, another big lie!
“We are not going to relax on this issue until the state governor listens to our demands. Something new has to be done about this law, because you cannot ask people not to sell and not provide alternative means for these people to sell their wares,” Omotehinwa lamented. But in his response to the pleas of the people, Segun Olulade, the chairman, house committee on health at the Lagos state House of Assembly, stated that the laws could be amended if it is found to be anti-people.
While receiving the people on behalf of the Speaker of the House, Olulade noted said: “The process of amending is clearly stated in our constitution and I know that coming to submit this letter is a way that will also make us look at the law again. A law will always remain a law.
“And we are law abiding citizens of Lagos and Nigeria and before we pass a law in this house, we ensure that we have a public hearing and in the public hearing, everybody in Lagos state has the opportunity, a right to make their inputs.
“This particular law is not in the exception. When that law was made, there was a public hearing and we had several inputs from members of the Public before we agreed on that law. “At CDHR, I know that what we stand for is to uphold the constitution of Nigeria, while we know that no system is perfect. And that is why we can look at the law and see areas that we feel can be amended,” he said to rousing applause.
Receiving the letter on behalf of the speaker was Majority Leader of the Houe, Sanai Agunbaide, who told the protesters that their pleas are going to be attended to by the Speaker of the House.
More pictures from event are below: