Governor Ayade wants to make hawking legal for his people

Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State has sent a bill titled, “Hawkers’ Right Bill,” to the House of Assembly in the bid to legalise hawking in the state.

Ayade, who disclosed this during an interaction with journalists in Calabar, said it is bad for any state government in Nigeria to ban hawking without providing an alternative in this harsh economy.

He said any decision to ban hawking amounted to an infringement of the right of the hawker.

Ayade said, “I have just sent the ‘Hawkers’ Right Bill’ to the House of Assembly, to provide a right for hawking. You cannot tell a man not to sell his goods because he does not have the money to rent a store. And you tell the man not to steal?

“Just provide a regulatory framework. There should be reflective outfits and there should be a minimum age of 18 to hawk. You will have a time frame when you come out so that you don’t constitute a nuisance.

“But to prohibit hawking is to tell a man I don’t want to give you food and I want you to steal. It is unfair. They have the right to seek and determine how they chose to live within the ambits of the law.

“Cross River would be the first state that would officially recognise hawking. The core mandate of a leader should be the social security of his people. If a man chooses to hawk, if you are a government that is sensitive and understands the real principle and objective of the law, then you will know that the hawker has a right.

“Governance is about how you protect the weakest in the society and that is why even with the way things are, Cross River is still doing tax exemption for the poor.”