UMO ENO IS NOT WICKED- Roadside Trading Must Stop!

The Evangelist News Edition Tuesday July 11, 2023. By Mikky Attah

Since the State Governor, Pastor Umo Eno announced that street trading around Uyo metropolis would no longer be tolerated, there has been a hullabaloo raised by a lot of people who feel that it would bring an end to the only source of livelihood of those carrying it out.

For instance, on my last radio programme, this decision was one of the topics and the calls and messages in response had a common thread save for a few – how insensitive the government is, to want to take street traders off the streets.


The state government had given all street traders around Uyo metropolis a one month ultimatum beginning from June 21, 2023 to vacate the streets and return to approved markets to sell their wares. The directive was given in a statement from the Office of the Secretary to the State Government.

The truth is, the merits of this move are not only numerous, but they are in fact, critical to the smooth running of any city.
People admire the big cities of the continent because of their beauty, and because of how well organised they are. It would be strange for an Akwa Ibomite to go to Abuja and not admire the city and its ambience. And that is because it is well planned and laid out- and roadside trading is not permitted.


In fact, even street begging is a No- No in in the Federal Capital. Periodically , the sitting Federal Capital Territory Minister ( FCT Minister) is known to send trucks into the city at night, who round up beggars in truck loads, all across the FCT .
Those street beggars are driven into forests of bordering states and commanded to disembark, take a walk- and never return to Abuja again!
This is just to show how much seriousness is attached to street activities.

Street trading in Abuja is carried out only at specific lay-bys as permitted by the authorities. It is not the haphazard setting that obtains in Uyo. And it is definitely not carried out by the roadside as happens in Uyo metropolis where several major roads, including bypassses are compressed and narrowed and rendered a nightmare for motorists; because of the activities of these roadside traders.
In Akwa Ibom, it appears to be an ‘anything- goes’ operation in the Uyo metropolis, which is even the capital city of the sstate.

The photograph here shows the frontage of my office at Abak road. This was taken after yesterday’s rain, and after this ugly spectacle came a terrible traffic jam, which is the usual outcome after every downpour.
As can be seen , my side of the road is flooded and this is can be attributed to the activities of the roadside traders here who throw every single bit of refuse, big or small, into the open gutter on this side of the road. It is just by a roundabout that is too wide to be compressed, at the front of the State Secretariat; or else these street traders would have compressed and overwhelmed the streets, as has been done at Ibom Plaza.
Over there, the transition from Oron Road to Ikot Ekpene via the Ibom Plaza, which was constructed as a bypass, is a harrowing experience with a lot of time wasted , in tight traffic.

The worst culprits now are the roast corn sellers. Taking advantage of the season, these people ( mostly women, I do admit), fling the husk of the corn as carelessly as they please, directly where they carry out their roasting. But when it is time to clean up, they have no qualms about some of that big waste landing in the street gutters. The ugly outcomes are what we live with, everyday.

Some may argue that roadside trading is being carried out as a means of survival. Others maintain that the roadside traders would have wanted to go and do office jobs, but the government is not making jobs available and so , very many have to hustle, and roadside trading is all that they can fall back on.

However, this cannot possibly be true. In any case, if each and every one of us decided to sell one item or the other , to augment our incomes or as a sole source of income- would there still be any road for people to pass ?
The Governor is not saying petty trading must end, he is only saying that it should be carried out in authorised locations, which are the designated markets.
The problems caused by roadside trading are really worrisome, and it calls for action from any well meaning State Chief Executive.

Roadside trading impedes the free flow of traffic along city streets, and creates the risk of accidents. Additionally, the refuse that is generated by these roadside traders is disposed of indiscriminately, causing blockages to drainages and aggravating the flooding on Uyo roads.
Worse of all, the clustering to carry out roadside trading constitutes a security risk to the generality of the public.

It brings down a metropolitan city. It rapidly downgrades a city to an urban slum.

The new Umo Eno Administration will not fold its arms and watch the state capital get degraded. They are taking steps to deal decisively with erring, indiscriminate street traders.

According to the statement on the subject, it says,
“Government has also directed the relevant security agencies and market leaders to collaborate and deal decisively with erring street traders, as sanity must be returned to our streets and culprits brought to book.”
And my verdict is that this is definitely a step in the right direction.

Reactions to
+2347055547031 WhatsApp

Related Articles


No Comment.

Back to top button