Open Letter To Gov. Ambode – On The Ban of Hawkers

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109 Responses

  1. Ogey says:

    I think Lagos has gotten to the level where if you don’t have anything substantial doing, you go elsewhere. My mom encountered daylight robbery recently by one of these hawkers. Everybody can’t stay in Lagos. If you can’t take the heat in the kitchen…

    Dear Ambo, ban hawkers! Ban Okadas on the high way as well!

    • Chidi Okereke says:

      Wow. Okay 🙂

    • Uyai says:

      This is probably the most selfish statement I have seen all my life. Everybody can’t stay in Lagos? Really??? Just wow.
      My husband has been robbed twice in traffic but it hasn’t robbed him of his sense of humanity. You don’t burn down your house because armed robbers visited it. I pray you never sleep hungry.

    • Osagie says:

      Everybody can’t stay in Lagos? Was it a typo or you meant it. It sounds like saying when my village in Edo state becomes a mega city, me and my grand pa should get out to some other state because one of us attacked you and your mom. Please, thoughts before words.

    • wasiu says:

      Mr chidi, wise words. Please lets mk it viral. becos these days its stupid tins dat don’t mk impact or help people go viral. please let us all share the letter till it reaches the right authority. Jail is nt made for trader.

    • Enigma says:

      It’s inhumane 2 think like this..

  2. iyanu says:

    nice one bro chydee

  3. Ololade says:

    This is an emotional and spectacular piece. Great stuff! Well done.

  4. Ameera says:

    I love you for this?

  5. Sandra.g.e.e says:

    I’m extremely excited to have stumbled on this piece. You actually hit the points straight on. I wonder, with this ban, are there plans set aside for them ? I don’t know, free shops ? Can they hawk else where. Truth is, no one likes/want to hawk. I mean , everyone is aware of the danger it poses to health. But they actually have to survive. While we are opportuned to have everything on a platter of gold, these people aren’t.

    Its funny how people keep saying your opinion is clouded by sentiment. Its not. I just hope the governor considers this ban and lifts it, because if not, Lagos should get ready as criminal activities will sky rocket.

    • Chidi Okereke says:

      Thank you. There are ways to go about sanitizing the streets. Outrightly banning people from earning a living is not what a people-oriented government would do.

  6. Maryam says:

    Honestly ?? my exact thoughts couldn’t have been put better in words. God bless you and i hope this gets to Mr Governor

  7. Kachi says:

    Wow chydee, nice letter there. Keep up the good work brother!

  8. Humantouch says:

    I really hope d governor gets to see this, dis is a penned down real life situation. Nice piece chydee

  9. kemi says:

    Like 2009-2010 there was an influx of Romanians to London, soo around hangerlane gyratory mothers n kids hung around selling trinkets nd flowers nd fathers tried to wash ur windshield if u were caught up in d lights……. they were there for months….all of a sudden they disappeared. I was too curious nd I later found out they had been housed and all d other normal things…..but we don’t have that in Nigeria… we don’t have any format of social disability or anything… my friend has been robbed in traffic and it wasn’t by hawkers…its mostly by opportunistic robbers, they see traffic occurs at a particular place all the time they take advantage…. rather than banning hawkers outright…. make a department that oversees public selling/hawking…register them…give age limit… that should be in school, should be in school…pay for their education….adults that want to hawk to provide for their kids…. well give them limitations…there would be places they aren’t allowed to be……limit them to geological areas etc. Because it’s not like they have readily available jobs waiting. But the govt won’t listen, they will do wat they want nd it’s the mere mortals that will usually suffer.

  10. Emma says:

    You made valid points but you didn’t take time out to talk about the state properties that were vandalized which was the reason for the ban. No sane Lagosian will embark on such. They bit more than they could chew. They displayed the character of uncivilized beings, and so the government is retaliating. That’s just it. In the end, they will be the biggest losers if they resort to crime. You get caught, you’re going to jail.

    My own anger is that, they’ve given the government another avenue to steal. Ambode has said that it’ll cost the government N139m to get the buses back on the road again.

    The hawkers brought this upon themselves. They could have protested the death of their colleague without violence.

    Thank you

    • Chidi Okereke says:

      Hello Emma,

      I didn’t mention the vandalized buses because I believe it is a ridiculous reason for the ban. First, is it every hawker in Lagos that joined in destroying the buses?

      So, some idiot hawkers destroyed buses, and because of that, ban all hawkers, including those who were not involved. That’s like arresting every Igbo person because some Biafrans have caused mayhem. That’s like banning Fulani herdsmen because some of them have killed people. That’s like incarcerating every Niger-Deltan because of the avengers. You do not punish the majority for the crime of a few. It is wrong and totally foolish. I will support the ban when an alternative means of livelihood is provided these people. Till then, I will keep saying, it is totally wrong.

    • Ogey says:

      Very apt comment. When you resort to jungle justice, be ready to face whatever results from it. I’m pretty sure Lagos state government has been looking for a way to rid the streets off hawkers. Now these disgruntled hawkers have given them a very good reason.

      • Chidi Okereke says:

        LOL. Ogechi you keep sinking low and low. But continue 🙂

        • Ogey says:

          Say what you want man. I’m done arguing. When the ban takes effect, endeavor to lead the hawkers on a protest -maybe encourage them to destroy a few more buses. Selah!

      • Enigma says:

        Ogey,I don’t think u can reckon with such story Chydee told. Cos if u do u would be rational in Ur judgement..Or maybe u are just being u..If u are the later..U need d good APC..Change!!!!

  11. Milky says:

    The way our leaders take decisions at times can even make you think they fall from heaven and don’t know what the masses look like… And those hawkers have a better life and choose hawking and suffering of a pot of gold abi? I know very well that there are areas you don’t see hawkers in every town tho I’m not a lagosian but pH have some.. If he really don’t buy d idea of poor masses helping themselves then he should stick to those areas with no hawking and allow people to live their lives pretending all is well. I wonder what he was even thinking while giving such a conclusive order…. Ndi uchu

  12. F politics says:

    God bless you

  13. Chinonso says:

    This is a very beautiful letter and I do hope it gets to the right ears. Keep up the good activism !!

  14. Joy says:

    You make sense chidi buh we need to pray to God so that our leaders will have mercy on poor because everything has bend from upside it’s only God who can save us

  15. Wale says:

    So the writer actually encourages Child labour. Blatantly putting it out there.

    How about having some peoplease go back to the farms ? That way, we solve two issues.

    • Chidi Okereke says:

      I don’t know where you saw me encourage child labour oga. Do you know how much it costs to set up a farm and make it profitable? But do you know that with N1000, a Gala seller can begin business?

  16. fancida says:

    Some of us can relate with this story but not all of us are bold enough to share it. For this,i say thank you Chidi. What makes a man isn’t what he has gone through but what he has been able to learn from what he has gone though. That said, i hope Gov Ambode would read this and see reasons to lift the ban of hawkers or fine-tune the recommendations in the best way possible beneficial to everyone. God bless you Chidi.

  17. HaroldWrites says:

    Hi Chidi. You’ve raised some fine points in this piece. I understand where you’re coming from. I had some form of experience growing up too. But I have to say, with due respect, that this letter is rather sentimental. I’ll make my points. You see, the thing is, Ambode did not unilaterally ban hawking as suggested in your letter. The Law regulating street hawking was made as far back as 2003. Ambode was not the Governor then. Just like several laws in Nigeria, they have been there, but have been in comatose until being implemented. And if a law must be “set aside” completely for whatever reason (say, the Law is harsh), the governor has no power to do so. It is the duty of the legislature to repeal the law. With regards to the instant case, our collective dissatisfaction with this law ought to be channeled to the Lagos State House of Assembly, not Governor Ambode personally. Even if the Governor agrees with the people, there is so much he can do. The power lies with the members of the HOA representing us at the HOA. This is why citizens should know and have good relationship/communication with people who represent them at the HOA. We all should ask our representatives to sponsor a motion to repeal the said law. That’s how it’s done.

    Second, on the suggestion that street hawkers should register and be given vests. Really? I know this suggestion is paced with good intentions, but I’m sorry to say that it is rather sentimental and would achieve little or nothing. The essence of this law banning street hawking is not just to “make Lagos a megacity ” as being sung about. Good implementation of the Law would also ensure safety of lives and properties of everyone, including the hawkers. Recently, a hawker was unfortunately knocked down. Giving that hawker a life vest and making him register, would not have stopped him from being knocked down. Or dying. I expected more effective suggestions like the government should designate parts of the state with less vehicular activities for street hawking. Or “banning” hawking on highways or areas without functional traffic light. Hawkers should not get on the road when the light is green, but may return when it’s green. You get? Anyone caught selling on a busy road when the traffic light is green may be caught and “banned” from hawking for the rest of the day or have his goods seized. This way, we’ll ensure that people don’t get knocked down by a moving car. My only fear with this suggestion is that we have not factored the concern of motorists who are scared of being attacked by cheap robbers who disguise as legitimate hawkers when the traffic light is red. I don’t see how wearing a vest or tag will prevent a die hard robber from camouflaging as a hawker just to attack innocent motorists. I had a gun pointed at MY FACE by a supposed hawker whilst driving home around 8pm in January 2015!

    Now as per the suggestion that motorists also need hawkers cos they’ll be thirsty or hungry. Come on. I am yet to see a person die from not eating or drinking in 2 – 5 hours (which is the average time Lagosians spend in traffic). If street hawking is banned, people will leave their houses or offices prepared. If you’re that hungry, you can alight from your car/bus and patronise a near by shop.

    Now, I’ve had people bring up this debate of agberos being allowed in Lagos whilst hawkers are banned. Others condemn the ban on hawkers when Lagos still has flood in some parts of the state. Like, seriously? How does championing a cause by comparing to a totally unrelated cause, help the cause? Street touting by agberos is terrible but making a case to allow street hawking because agberos have not been flushed out, isn’t helping the case of street hawking. Two wrongs can’t make a right. As far as the 2003 law on street hawking is still subsisting, street hawking is a wrong (even if we don’t agree that it should be). But the law is what the law is. And we are a society governed by the rule of law. If we don’t like the law (which is the case here), the proper thing for us to do is to help the government by tasking our legislators to repeal the law. We can’t achieve anything by being sentimental about the whole issue and laying the blame at the feet of the Governor, who belongs to the executive arm of government. We hold the key to changing the state of things and we won’t achieve much by writing open letters to the executive governor. Thank you.

    HaroldWrites (

    • HaroldWrites says:

      “Hawkers should not get on the road when the light is green, but may return when it’s RED. “

    • Chidi Okereke says:

      Hello Harold, really long one. But let’s see how we can respond.

      1) The law has been dormant since 2003 you say? For whatever reason though? Did previous governments find out how tough it would be to effect the law? Did they realize they had to create an alternative income source for the victims of the law and just abandoned it? With all due respect, it isn’t the HOA members that have announced the ban or issued a N90,000 fine on offenders. It is the Governor. And while I do not think he is absolutely wrong, I believe he should be fairer.

      2) My suggestion that they should be REGULATED is not limited to giving them vests. I was hoping more and better suggestions would be inspired by this one. And you have indeed come up with a couple interesting suggestions too. I do not hold all the answers. I do not have all the solutions. The governor has all the resources to know a better way forward. All I’m saying is the unemployment market is already saturated. It is unfair to add to it by outrightly banning hustlers.

      3) Accidents occur on the road everyday. Should we ban all vehicles because of that or find the root cause of the accidents? Some cabmen and buses are ‘one chance’ vehicles that kidnap, rob or even kill victims who are unfortunate enough to enter them. Have we banned all cabs and buses? Saying you want to ban hawkers because people have been robbed by a few bad ones is as good as throwing a baby away with the bathwater.

      4) I live and work in Lagos and on a daily basis, I am in traffic. All the times I have bought something, I did not plan it. You forget your handkerchief and you’re in a steaming bus, and you realize that some things cannot wait. I have been in a bus, famished because I was so caught up in work I didn’t eat all day. I thought I’d eat at home but traffic was 3 times heavier than usual and maybe I’d have passed out if I waited. So I bought gala and coke. And I survived. Relatively, I live close to work. Some people live in Ikorodu and work on the Island. They basically spend a third of their day in traffic and they maximize that time by buying what they need on the move. Because you do not have a need for the things traffic hawkers sell doesn’t mean there are people who do not.

      5) The Agbero angle is another issue all together. I didn’t want to delve into it, but since you’ve brought it up: what is the difference between Agberos and Hawkers?Agberos run after vehicles. They are aggressive. They fight all the time, in full glare of the public. They have caused several accidents, when drivers were trying to escape them. Many people have been robbed by these street urchins. They are the ultimate menace and I can bet a substantial amount of my savings that 70% of the people who vandalized those BRTs are agberos. They are a bigger problem than the hawkers, so if we really want to sanitize traffic, why not start with these ones first?

      6) Without the law, there is no order. But the law is made for the people, the people are not made for the law. If the law is unfavourable, kick against it. It was once a law to make black people feel inferior. Black people did not wait for the law to change before they demanded equal rights. They fought for it first. What I want are better suggestions to MAKING SURE THE HAWKERS DO NOT STARVE. And if you think it is sentiments, pray you never get to a place where your life depends on how you get the next N500.

      Thank you.

  18. Jesse says:

    Well, all I can say is – thank you to that “Hawker” who saved me from being robbed in traffic…

  19. Bolaji says:

    Hi chydee, a nice piece. I agree with Wale and Kemi and of course, considering the level of poverty, circumstances and emergency situations I share your sentiments.
    All the LASG needs is to regulate this form of self employment’s operational time, operational hours and operational age. Progressively they can be ‘ weaned’ from the happenstance job and placed on jobs of their passion. As a matter of fact, some of the hawkers had one acquired craft or another but limited by resources to purchase tools and the like. I pray the government tarries a while before enforcing an all out ban.
    Intelligent tweets too.

  20. Johnmic says:

    Chidi you are absolutely On point

  21. Headoo says:

    Nice work bro. More power to your elbow.

  22. Kasiacyndie says:

    You make me proud… Always. Thank you for this, I hope it gets to the Governor. More power to your elbow Chidi?

  23. Segun says:

    May your days be long sir. Thank you for sharing with us.

  24. Motunde says:

    @Chidi, I like ur right up and we all know how things are generally with economy. I want to ask you how you think we can stop the miscreants hiding under the pretence of hawking. I have been robbed Adeniji twice. My phone and money collected and side mirror broken. That other step can be taken to prevent them from been ban if u say Gov. Ambode decision is wrong.

    • Chidi Okereke says:

      Regulation would help. If you license the traffic traders, attach them to units and restrict them to certain roads, you have some control over who can hawk where. These small units will know themselves so if some charlatan tries to commit a crime, they will spot the person and raise the alarm.

      Like I said though, I am sure someone has a better way of ensuring that our roads are safe and the hawkers remain productive.

  25. Ikechi Uche-Onu says:

    Hmmn…nice piece– as always!

    Ambode really needs to read this.

    Meanwhile, please, complete the write-up, biko: Have a grea…

  26. GorgeousB says:

    Nice piece 🙂 God bless u for speaking d mind of other ppl who dnt hv d priviledge to.

  27. K.C says:

    Good one, brother.
    At a critical stage in the life of my family, each seven of us were either called ‘Nwa’ akara or akara boy, ‘Nwa buns, corn, groundnut and so many others. Even though my parents were civil servants, we sold all these to survive, and this shaped us and made us who we are today; industrious and all graduates doing well in our various life endeavours.
    Today, all of us can look back to those days with smiles and thank God for creating those avenues through which our family survived.

    • Chidi Okereke says:

      And it is important that we never forget where we came from, and how tough it was back then. Congratulations!!!

  28. nolly says:

    Chidi most times our governors forget that they were one’s in this situation before they got up to that sit that’s how fashola came and said they should ban bike riders I think you made a good point if u take my job from me without giving me another better one the bible says an idle man is a devil workshop..

  29. Khorlawole says:

    Bless you chidi, but if someone else tells u the ordeals they face in this so called traffic hawkers hand, we won’t blame governor Ambode for the law passed on this people, but may the best be done for that’s where most of them truly survive..

    • Chidi Okereke says:

      I said something about this earlier. Because people get robbed in one-chance buses, are you going to therefore ban all buses?

  30. Mills says:

    Not a Lagosian but I was moved. People will see you now and feel you were born on top of a gold mine. Unique Unique

  31. andrew says:

    God bless your brain and fingers that typed this.

  32. Ronke says:

    So touching. Thank you for this piece. I pray Ambode gets to see this

  33. Nma says:

    Chidi, Chidi, Chidi, am so happy with this letter. It is not only the hawkers that will suffer this, it will affect the already affected economy of this country. What about the distributors\whole Sellers, no business for them and even companies will suffer too. We preach that Nigerians should use made in Nigeria products to boost our economy, let me remind us that some of this guys hawk their own product, they make the belt, purse, art works, chips etc they do so because they want to raise money for shop not that they want to be on the road forever. Some have shop already but no customer and shop rent is expiring and yet they have not raised money so they hit the road. Please this will affect everybody. I think Government should find a way to do this and do it gradually.

  34. Intrepid Toju says:

    Privilege blinds because its the duty of Privilege to Blind! I didn’t grow up with much Privilege so I can relate to what Chidi Okereke is saying, but one person’s voice is not Everybody’s voice.
    Although I expect Eko Government to be the government of the Minority but the Quick Decision of Gov Ambode was a belittlement of my Expectations. The government should come together and Rub Minds together and make a Better Decision… Eko Oni baje !

  35. Charles says:

    Wonderful work Chidi.

  36. nenye says:

    So touching, just wish this governors think things true before deciding on it. Who like to suffer, they don’t know to hawk is very risky but people don’t have any choice. Abeg make Ambo have a rethink jare no condition is permanent.

  37. 'lulu says:

    I like the fact that someone has seen this and has decided to speak up . Lemme say a quick story. When I was in 300level, our lecturer gave us a practical CA, that we should produce bottled water and sell them, we finished selling everything in traffic under 2 hours but I finished feeling very faint. Now I had my pair of sun shades, face towel and bottles of cold water and drink. If I could feel faint with these little comforts for something I completed in less than 2 hours tell me how someone who spends the whole day hustling for who will buy his goodies will feel without anything shielding him from the sun and rain. Do you think someone will just wake up and decide to be hawking without some level of desperation? *whispers* I’d ont think so. Unless an alternative means is going to be prepared for them, the government that promised to serve them will be failing them in all ramifications. *dropsmic* I can talk sga

  38. Taymiia says:

    Calling this write up beautiful is an understatement… All I know is Chidi Okereke is a comprehension of greatness.. God bless you.

  39. Lawal says:

    Alternative is Hawkers should sell at bus stops. Shikena.

    If you know you are going to get hungry during your journey buy from the bus stop.

    Is there wild street Hawking in Dubai or New York?

    Before now, those guys used to hawk sim card. Where are they today?

  40. graham elendu says:

    Nice one Chidi, well articulated, Bravo

  41. Godwin. says:

    Chidi, I have been following you ever since, you’re just so talented, this piece is just so exceptional, being sentimental or not you’ve made your points clear enough to Mr Governor. Nice one Bro.

  42. T. Blaize says:

    Nice piece bro, the problem now is getting it to the Governor, i suggest you should publish it in a popular newspaper and not just here on social media. Ride on

  43. Jide says:

    Hello Chidi, I normally won’t read and respond to any article about Lagos or the south west, from someone with the name ‘Chidi’ LOL. Because by default, they will always run Lagos down even if the Lagos government turned Lagos into heaven. However, I am a humanitarian by heart and also a pragmatic person. I am not happy for anyone to lose their livelihoods. Do you know as at 2014, UNITED NATIONS reported that 70,000 people move into Lagos Per week, not Lagos or any state in Nigeria has the jobs and infrastructure to cater for such influx. Pragmatic and forward thinking leaders like Fashola and Ambode, will be forced to make unpopular decisions like this. In as much as your letter is heart felt, it also gives demagogues an opportunity to exploit. Like Fayose of Ekiti, a guy that plays the ‘common man’ card and does nothing. I just wish Ambode has gotten rid of the ọmọ onílẹ̀ and agberos first, before this harmless hawkers. Lastly, any government that wants to make positive change in Nigeria now, especially after years of neglect, will be prepared to be called names. This year, WHO list of world most polluted and dirtiest city had 4 Nigerian cities in the top 10. Aba-Onitsha-Umrhia. Guess what! Lagos the most populated state was not even amongst. 3 of the cities where from the east, I was in Onitsha weeks ago, and I was totally disgusted. It looked like a place that is not being governed at all. If the leaders there are making bold moves like the leaders in Lagos, we might not have this situation on our hands. Lets be honest, easterners are the highest migrants to Lagos.

    • Chidi Okereke says:

      LOL. Wow. This response is unbelievable. First you start with how you have stereotyped my tribe, because by default we always want to ‘run Lagos’ down, then you end with how easterners are the highest migrants to Lagos. But I will respond anyway:

      Why is Lagos the most populated city in Nigeria? Well, while it used to be Nigeria’s capital, causing an influx of people from all tribes, majority of the biggest businesses in Nigeria still have their offices here. Its strategically located ports also ensure most of the imports that come into Nigeria come in through Lagos. Where the ports, biggest businesses and a market for goods, services and labour is, people will naturally migrate. How many ports do you have in the east sir? Igbo people have been begging for a port in Anambra state so merchants do not have to make the tedious journey from Lagos, but what has been done?

      If as a governor, you want to effect an unpopular law, won’t you as a good person try to cushion the effect? Is the government for some people and not all? Do you know a guy with one hand who hawks Handkerchiefs in Maryland traffic? Many others like him will resort to begging but he is doing something to earn a living. What do you reckon he should do now that he has been banned?

      Eastern states are not being well run yeah? There is a back story to that. And if you read your history books well, you would have an idea why. Until things get better, the common man will seek places where they can pursue happiness and get maximum opportunities. And unless Lagos becomes a country of its own, people will continue to migrate here, from all over the country.

      I must also add that your comment in the end shows you are a tribalistic person. This is 2016, do better. Shalom.

      • Uyai says:

        Chidi, I’m beating myself up because you actually replied him/her/it. What was the point of his/hers/it’s post? I’m still looking for it.

    • Ogey says:

      You just could not resist the temptation to make your point without sounding like a tribalistic bigot.

  44. Oluwasegun says:

    To me, the most problem we face in Lagos are the Agberos and Omo onile, the govt should get rid of these people first…
    The hawker in the street of lagos, are looking for how to earn living for God sake, they should be left alone please…

  45. majeck says:

    I appreciates everyone for the wonderful submissions, is this how we’ll achieve an egalitarian society? by Criminalizing people means of survival instead of regulating their
    activities,e.g BOOT SALES in U.k . I believe the banned was basically as a results of the LASG Properties in question.

  46. Akinkuade says:

    Thanks for these words. I believe those who haven’t experienced such a thing like hawking to make ends meet will outrightly support the government decision to ban street hawking or traffic hawking.
    Thanks for sharing bro.

  47. Abby says:

    Oɠɛɧ. Mąყ Gơɖ קųŋıŞɧ ყơų ŧřɛmɛŋɖơųŞٳყ ʄơř ŧɧąŧ Ćơmmɛŋŧ ყơų ɖřơקקɛɖ. Amɛŋ
    TɧąŋҠŞ ცřơ Ćɧıɖı ყơų ąřɛ ą ცٳɛŞŞıŋɠ

  48. Valentina says:

    Those saying otherwise here were probably born in a rich hope & neva known what it means to hustle in life;Most of them when to private institutions all their life & have access to cars all d time…So they don’t even understand what u’r saying…Let them say! !! U have done well… God bless u 4ds 1daful piece

  49. Wow, tһis post iѕ good, my sister is analyzing
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