Trading On Major Streets of Akure
TRADING on the major roads of Akure, Ondo State capital has continued to generate environmental concern for obvious reasons. Late in the evening, men and women peddle their wares on the roadside, constituting a menace to members of the public. Major streets such as Araromi, Oba Adesida, Ijoka, NEPA, and Arakale suffer most from the problem, as traders in various disguises have taken over hawking all manners of wares . Traders sell their wares by the roadside, sometimes move their products into the middle of the road, in a desperate bid to woo unwilling and harassed customers to patronize their products.
UNFORTUNATELY, street standing is seen by many as a social, environmental and security nuisance, while others feel it constitutes a threat to societal development. Others don’t see anything bad in their conduct, after all it is the life of the street trader concerned that is at risk. But the truth is that the life of every Nigerian is of paramount importance to the government, which has a responsibility to protect all citizens. Reports show that a life is lost frequently on the aforementioned roads. In some cases, a car or motor-bike loses control and crashes into roadside stalls, leading to avoidable death.
LAST year, Mr. Tobi Ogunleye, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transport, said street trading contributed to the traffic hold-ups along major streets such as Oba Adesida and Arakale.
HE accused traders of using their products to cause traffic hold ups, thereby slowing down the pace of commercial activities in the state capital.
CONSEQUENTLY, he announced that the state government would establish evening and Sunday markets at the MKO Abiola Democracy, Arakale and Olukayode Parks.
ONE of the reasons given by traders in Akure for carrying out commercial activities on major streets is because the poor economic situation in the country has in recent times pushed people to sell their products at the roadside in order to make ends meet.
ANOTHER reason is because traders have the opportunity of displaying their products to a wide category of people, far more than if they erect their stalls in obscure locations.
But in their bid to make ends meet, their activities constitute a threat not only to the free flow of traffic but to the state’s drive towards urban sanitization.
THIS no doubt should be a disturbing development to the commercial growth of Akure, because people are not likely to invest their hard-earned resources in a chaotic and dirty city.
THE HOPE is worried that major streets in the state capital have been taken over by traders, as cursory visitors to Akure will be appalled by the slums which have taken over major streets of the state capital, thus slowing down the pace of commercial activities in the city.
HAPPILY, there are existing laws prohibiting street trading, only that governments have been a little lenient on the matter. The affected traders must not push their luck too far or take government’s docility as a mark of weakness, but see it as an opportunity for them to make necessary amendment.
WE, consequently, call on the state government to take a second look at the proposed evening and Sunday markets at parks located around Oba-Oba and Arakale as a means of reducing street trading in the Ondo State capital.
GOVERNMENT should ensure streetlights are permanently switched on at such markets, so traders don’t use the cover of darkness to sell substandard goods to unsuspecting members of the public.
We also call on the government to bring street trading in other areas of Akure under the ambit of the law, by specifying where trading should take place.
Government should do the needful by ensuring street trading in any part of the state capital does not constitute a nuisance to people and vehicular movements.
THE government should sanction any person or group of persons who flout the efforts at bringing street trading under the ambit of the extant laws of the state.
BUT we are quick to point out that government officials saddled with the responsibility of controlling trading on the major streets of Akure must not use the opportunity to exploit hapless and defenceless traders.
IT is high time sanity is brought to the major streets of Akure, or the pace of commercial activities will continue to be slowed down, a factor that impacts negatively on the fight against youth unemployment .
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