Few days ago, the Akwa Ibom State government wielded its enforcement against street trading on its streets for so many ills it engenders on the society. There was resistance as often has been the case in social agitations. Yesterday, the day 3 of the exercise was fiercer, even as there was high level of compliance by street traders.
HOW WAS IT POSSIBLE?
1. A prominent feature of the exercise ON THE 3rd DAY was an interface with the management of the Ibom Plaza community – It was a tété é tété between the chairman of the state Environmental Protection and Waste Management Agency, Hon. Prince Ikim and the affected traders. The later were able to come to terms with the reality that street trading is ‘injurious’ to both the environment and by extension, the people who people the environment.
2. IKim, being a pacifist (one who opposes the use of war or violence to settle a dispute), had employed a “win-win approach”, which he considered as alternative dispute/conflict resolution with the ignorantly angered and defiant traders.
3. When engaged, the traders complained they never had money to rent stalls – that, if they could be subvention, they would rather prefer the ‘organised trading’ in the informal sector to ‘street trading’.
4. They also admitted some ills and ordeals they underwent in the course of selling in the street, such as bullying, pickpocketing…, by miscreants (which agreed with the initial stance of the AKSEPWMA boss.
5. Poised by such, IKim offered to sacrifice his six months salary to ensure he subvents for all street traders to own a legitimate stall.
6. The affected traders vis á vis the Management of the Plaza, came up to speed with the essence of organised trading and thenceforth accepted to exit the streets and sign up for stalls at designated places, including markets across the state.
7. However, incase of any shortfall of amenity inside the plaza market, IKim offered to assist in that responsibility, as to make for convenient occupation of the place(s).
8. The atmosphere was jubilant as everyone realised that it was only through organised trading that the activities of miscreants could be in check; It could reduce traffic gridlock which has over the years constituted bottlenecks for road users; it would revamp the defaced beauty of our environment; it will reduce blockage of drainages which constitutes flood on the environment
9. Lots of them never knew that the ban was for their good. But when the ills associated with it were made bare through a thorough sensitisation, those who had earlier on opposed the idea, regretted their initial opposing stances.
10. Street trading is an ill itself to the environment !
The government still remains resolute in curbing the menace and is all out to sustain the enforcement.
_ Info Unit;