An Ilorin based lawyer, Barrister Tunde Jimoh has called on the Federal Government to impose a ban on hawking by children nationwide. Barrister Jimoh, who made the call in Ilorin on Friday, said by doing so, the government must protect the children form the hazards of child hawking and safeguard their future.
He said that hawking has ruined the lives of promising Nigerian children, with many of them lured into different negative acts beyond their mental scope, adding that hawking has also caused set back to the lives of many teenagers who are lured into prostitution, abusing hard drugs and other vices.
“Many young girls are being raped and boys are being lured into armed robbery, which has had a negative impact on their lives. Hawking should never be encouraged in Nigeria, hawking has done more harm than good to the future of Nigerian teenagers.”
The legal practitioner urged parents to stop sending their children to hawk on the street, so as to save their dignity and ensure a beller future away from the streets.
Jimoh advised that seminars be organised for parents to sensitise them on the dangers inherent in allowing children to hawk on the street.
Street/Child hawking is part of the informal economy, but many jurisdictions discourage it because it has more adverse effects than beneficial attributes. Apart from encouraging crime, a sticking downside is its impact on the environment: it engenders overcrowding in the streets, causes nuisance like smell, noise and litter. Children who are supposed to be in school are recruited into the web of street trading/child hawking.
Lagos suffers unduly from a daily influx of Nigerians from the hinterland, who put enormous pressure on infrastructure, health, education and social facilities. They distort planning.
And to control the influx, the Lagos State Government in 2003 enacted the Street Trading and Illegal Market Prohibition Law, which, in Section One, prohibits street trading and hawking. It provides for a fine of N90,000 or a six-month jail term for both buyer and seller.
However, the law had been dormant. The fault lies with successive administrations in the state, which refused to implement it as street traders ran riot.
But last year, Governor Akinwumi Ambode directed an enforcement of the law prohibiting street trading and hawking in every part of the state, following the death of one street hawkers who was knocked down by an articulated truck while trying to evade arrest from officials of Kick Against Indiscipline, as a result KAI along Maryland Bus stop.
Governor Ambode added that the state executive has resorted to enforce the law, which according to him, makes hawkers and buyers liable of the offence.
On a contrary note, Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River state rather than stop street hawking in his state last year, restated his commitment to legalise street hawking once the bill he presented before the state House of Assembly is passed.
According to Ayade, he was desperate to make a difference and Cross Riverians have a right to make an honest living within the ambit of the law, as there was no crime in making legitimate earnings from hawking as long as it was done under an effective regulatory framework.
If the governor’s bill pulls through and is eventually passed into law, Cross River State will be the first in the country to licence hawking.