By Idowu Abdullahi,
Lagos State Government has vowed to sustain ongoing arrest of traders that fails to strictly abide by laws banning street trading and hawking in the state.
The move, the government said, was to forestall traffic gridlock being experienced on the highways owing to the activities of street traders and hawkers, which had been resulting in accidents on highways across the state.
Lagos Environmental Sanitation Corps (LAGESC) Marshal, CP Akinpelu Gbemisola (retd), said the action was in tandem with the directive of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu which stated that the roads must be cleared of any illegal workers or traders causing traffic gridlock in the state.
Gbemisola, who decried the rising numbers of hawkers on the state’s highways said the activities of the traders pose serious dangers to the motorists and other road users, noted that some criminal elements are now disguising as hawkers to dispossess road users of their valuables.
Gbemisola, in a statement signed by the Head of Public Affairs Unit, LAGESC, Adebayo Kehinde, added that to ensure sanity is restored on the highways, the operatives of the agency would swing into action on the backdrop of the Governors directives.
“Walkways are meant for pedestrians to walk and not for trading activities so as to give room for motorists to enjoy smooth vehicular movement’’.
She added that the LAGESC officers would take to highways to effect arrests of hawkers going against the directives of the state government for appropriate prosecution while advising law-abiding traders and hawkers to remain in state-approved markets to engage in their businesses.
According to her, the arrest would minimize recorded highways accidents that have claimed many lives due to the activities of traders who are fond of displaying their goods on walkways and roadsides for sale thereby impeding free vehicular and human movements on the roads.
Gbemisola, however, expressed readiness of LAGESC operatives in sustaining the cleared areas in Ikoyi and Victoria Island, while also warning that anybody found around these cleared areas will be prosecuted and their seized goods are forfeited.
Also, she explained that the Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Tunji Bello, has also directed that any of the Agency’s operatives found in any act compromising on this directive and the Clean-Up Exercise be dealt with accordingly.