“The act of trading on walkways should be discouraged, because they prevent passers-by from using walkways thereby forcing them to walk on the tarred roads.”

This is how the Deputy Speaker of the Edo state House of Assembly, Mrs Elizabeth Ativie (Uhumwode-APC), justified the need for a law prohibiting street begging, trading on walkways and hawking in Edo state.

She also led the debate on the bill which was sponsored by 14 members of the House and it passed the second reading on Monday.

Mrs Ativie explained that if they manage to curb the menace of street begging in the state, it becomes easier to prevent possible infiltration of insurgents in the state.

She decried the increasing rate of street begging in major streets in the state, recalling that such had been banned in most states in the northern part of the country.

The lawmaker appealed to members to support the passage of the bill to curtail the ugly trend.

Mr Ojo Asein (Owan West-APC) and Monday Ehighalua (Esan West-PDP) supported the bill and called for specification of areas where street trading would be banned in the state.

The lawmakers also advocated banning of only children of school age from hawking, adding that it was a means of livelihood for some parents.

The Chief Whip, Mr Adjoto Kabiru, also asked for more caution, reminding the lawmakers that there was an existing law on street trading in the state.

“I will advise that during the clause-by-clause consideration of the bill, we have to look at the bill critically to avoid conflict with the existing law,” he said.

After the debate, Ativie moved that the bill should pass second reading. The motion was seconded by the Majority Leader, Mr Foly Ogedengbe.

The Speaker then directed that the bill should be given to the Committee on Environment, with a mandate to report back within two weeks.

The Speaker, Justin Okonoboh, had earlier urged members to support the bill to complement the effort of the state government in making the state conducive for residents.