By Our Correspondent
Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade says his administration has proposed a bill that seeks to provide a legal backing and protect the rights of street hawkers even though the state has domesticated the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
The proposed bill, an opposite of the one proposed by Governor Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos state tagged ‘Hawkers Protection Bill”, Ayade said will allow only adults of 18 years and over who wear reflective vest to hawk at designated locations and time to guarantee their survival devoid of violation.
“(The) Hawkers’ protection bill is one bill after my heart, which I must ensure its enactment and implementation within the shortest possible time” Ayade said, adding that; “The supremacy of government does not allow it to know the agony of the down trodden which is why hawking is being prohibited and hawkers subjected to merciless whips at all times by law enforcement agents.
“Why must we deny a man or woman the right to earn a living simply because he or she does not have money to rent a shop?”
He criticized the idea of an outright ban on hawking saying that; “We want a law that will make hawking legal and provide clear terms and conditions under which you can hawk. I will provide specific hawking corridors to protect the rights of the down trodden.”
“The hawkers’ rights bill is key to Cross River State government. All I need to do is just to regulate it. Hawking is an African thing and we cannot shy away from the fact that at some point in our lives, we have been at our lowest levels. Personally, I have hawked before” he said.
Furthermore, Ayade explained that; “It is unheard of, that a tourism state will encourage hawking but I assure you that we will, by this new bill modernize hawking and make it more attractive in a manner that many will take to it even for leisure.
“My childhood poverty that made me to hawk has today contributed immensely to my intellect, strength, capacity and sanity that made me understand, in spite of my today’s position, that I still have humility which is why God has charged me to be a vehicle for the protection of the poor.
“We must show concern for our brothers and sisters on the other side” Ayade concluded.
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