Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Curbing the menace of roadside trading


The slogan “man must survive” happens to be one of the greatest philosophy held by roadside hawkers. But it is not a farce that the more one struggles to survive, the more life gets tough. The escalating challenge of unemployment in Nigeria has given birth to a number of oddities including the exposure of young people to the harsh realities of life at a tender age. Roadside hawking is one of these harsh realities our youngsters are being exposed to. Due to the pathetic condition of many households, children and teenagers are forced into streets to support their parents through hawking.

For many adults who also indulge in street hawking, the high rate of shops and small-scale business outlets is the cause. These limitations and other factors are reasons which have lured many into this path of uncertainty. Many hawkers venture into hawking to make ends meet and thus fulfil the saying “no food for a lazy man”   

Street hawkers customarily display and sell their wares on roadsides, by traffic light intersections, on pavements and pedestrian lanes to attract customers not minding the harsh weather conditions of the day. They are also subjected to daily hazards, physical and psychological and go through series of injurious exercises such as chasing buyers on moving vehicles, jumping on Tricycles, selling in between moving vehicles, all in a bid to make sales. Street fighting, theft and abuse are also dangers inherent in this unhealthy trade which street hawkers are exposed to. This, as a matter of fact increases their vulnerability to harm, resulting in accident and subsequent death, if not properly handled.  

At traffic light intersections, apart from the fact that they may be knocked down by oncoming vehicles, they also stand a risk of losing their wares or getting them damaged by transiting vehicles. Worse still, they get more, less or part payment from their customers who pick up their items at gridlock and move on when their lanes have been cleared for passage hence, they part away with goods often times, without the seller in sight or throwing out fake money to them. 

Findings have shown that female traders are most vulnerable especially at nights to ritualists, kidnappers and rapists. This has thus increased the rate of unwanted pregnancies, child and maternal mortality in the state.
Meanwhile, others have been arrested while displaying their wares on major roads and restricted areas and their goods confiscated yet, this has not discouraged street traders from continuing their trade neither have the number of roadside traders decreased a bit. 

It is pertinent to note that farming, tailoring, fishing, hairdressing, petty trading, and other responsible trade forms are more profitable, advantageous and less risky for anyone to attempt rather than dwelling on roadside trading that endangers and diminishes one’s standing.

The government should therefore provide more employment opportunities and make available skill acquisition and poverty alleviation programmes as well as shops at subsidized rates that people would be able to afford. This will go a long way in curbing the ill of roadside trading.  

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