The operatives of both the Lagos State Environmental Sanitation and Special Offences (Taskforce) Unit and the Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps (LAGESC) at the weekend jointly dislodged all illegal trading activities on road setbacks and walkways around Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.
According to the Chairman, Lagos State Task Force, CSP Olayinka Egbeyemi, activities of these illegal traders, hawkers and other environmental nuisances were eyesore which impeded free-flow of traffic around Kodesho Street, Medical Road and Ikeja under bridge towards Railway line.
Egbeyemi said the exercise was in line with Section (1) of the Lagos State Street Trading and Illegal Market Prohibition Law 2003 which prescribed a punishment of N90, 000 or a (6) month jail term, for both the buyer and the seller of any goods or services on all roads across the State.
“Despite continuous advocacy, enlightenment and appeals from the government, some illegal traders and hawkers were still of the habit of violating the extant environmental laws of the State by causing disorder and serious environmental infraction on the roads through their activities.
“All illegal traders and hawkers must vacate the roads in order to drastically reduce inconveniences to motorists, enhance the sustainability of the environment and protect public infrastructures which were often vandalized by hawkers and Street traders,” he said.
Egbeyemi said that government would not tolerate the disregard of law from any quarters, particularly traders who were fond of converting every available space into market, as such untoward acts needlessly inconvenience other law-abiding citizens.
During the exercise, 7 illegal traders were arrested while different types of goods, ranging from fairly used clothes (okrika), shoes, belt, fairly used electronics, gas cylinders mobile phone accessories were also confiscated by the enforcement team.
“This is a pointer to other locations such as Oyingbo, Bariga, Mushin, Yaba, Orile-Iganmu, Apapa, Ikorodu, Mile 12, Ojota, Ojora, Obalende and Lagos Island where activities of these illegal traders impede the free flow of traffic, that it would not be business as usual till zero tolerance is maintained,” he added.
While warning all market union leaders to desist from collecting illegal fees from the illegal traders and hawkers, the agency’s boss urged owners of all illegally built kiosks and containerised shops on road setbacks and walkways to remove them immediately or face the wrath of the Law.
In the same vein, the agency had served 72 hours notice to food vendors who were in the habit of blocking the Awolowo Road opposite Airport Hotel, Ikeja to desist from preventing residents to gain access to their respective home every night as such act contravened the Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Law.
Egbeyemi, however, confirmed that the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, CP ZubairuMuazu had directed that the arrested traders be charged to court.