LIFE IN ONDO: Street Hawkers Choose Between Survival And Jail Term
When the cons appear to outweigh the pros in the choice of life, it is a common sense for the party to take a retreat and kick off from the other side of life.
But this principle doesn't seem applicable to the street hawkers in Akure Ondo state who by virtue of existing laws of the land, have become preys in the hands of their predators.
Those who are often engaged in the business are youths who are brought down from another state with the promise of a better clime and pasture.
But when promise becomes barren, they rise to the occasion and etch out a means of survival.
They sell wares by the roadside or move into the road in a bid to push further their luck of being patronized by sometimes, unwilling customers.
While many of them are always lucky to escape the wrath of the state government which frowned at their means of livelihood, Ibrahim Kano and Emmanuel Wori were quite unfortunate.
Both men were arrested on November 19 by the law enforcement agency in Akure, tried and convicted on a two-count charge of road obstruction and displaying goods for sale.
They were sentenced to one month jail term at the magistrate court sitting in Oke-eda, Akure presided over by magistrate O.R Yakubu.
This development was expected to serve as a lesson to the roadside sellers having witnessed some scapegoats among them but the struggle for survival has prevented the dire consequence of the action to register in their memory.
"Where do they expect us to start from? Many of us would have preferred to be doing our businesses inside the shop but how do we raise the money? How much do we even make daily?
"I don't see anything wrong in roadside trading. All we are doing is to survive." Said Chris Nnamdi.
A female member of the group who simply identified herself as Rosemary pointed out that she cannot make what she sells on the road in the shop.
"If I want to get a shop now, I will have to get it inside the street because I don't have enough money to rent a shop located at the main road or within the market. So I will rather continue like this and pray that I don't fall victim one day. I will continue to be on the alert."
On her part, a businesswoman, Mrs Omolayo Margaret said street trading does not only constitute a threat to the social development of a society but also to the life of street traders, citing the instance where a car would lose control and crash into the roadside.
However, the Ondo state government is of the belief that the activities of traders and business owners peddling their wares by the roadside or on the street is a threat to any state‘s drive towards urban sanitization and bringing in foreign investors into the state.
The government through the state attorney general and justice commissioner stated that it will make sure that the state capital is completely rid of street trading through proper execution of the law that prohibits it.