Don’t Take Away Our Livelihood, Abuja Hawkers Beg Wike

A cross-section of hawkers in Abuja on Friday pleaded with the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, to support them in growing their businesses, rather than take away their means of livelihood.

The hawkers who had been trading on various streets of the FCT, made the plea in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

NAN reported that the minister of FCT recently banned the activities of street traders within the Abuja metropolis.

Wike had said that it became necessary for corn sellers, cloth sellers and other street hawkers to vacate their locations because they contributed to the insecurity and criminal activities in the nation’s capital.

Mrs Mercy Job, a fruit seller said the government should give them support, adding that their sales would go a long way in boosting Abuja’s economyz rather than stopping them.

“The minister can create a platform that will help us financially to support our small businesses instead of sending us away from the roads with nowhere to relocate us to.

“Sitting by the roadside is not my will, it is because I do not have the financial capacity to rent a shop. It is even risky for me; but what can I do?

“Hawking is our source of livelihood and we will appreciate it if the FCT administration will support providing an affordable place for us,” she said.

Also, Mrs Fatima Alayo, who sells soft drinks and snacks, said that taking street hawking away from the city centre would only make life more difficult for them.

According to her, renting a shop within the popular markets in the metropolis would cost nothing less than N500,000 to N700,000.

”This amount is too much and not everyone can afford it, and not every business warrants spending such money to rent a shop.

“This is a petty trade. Some people just walk by and may just want to eat a snack or buy water while in transit. They buy what they see as they go by to refresh themselves.

“We are trying to help ourselves. I don’t have anywhere to go, it is this business that I am using to cater to my family,” Alayo said.

She urged the FCT administration to reconsider and have better measures that could bring succour to the masses amidst the present hardship in the country.

However, another hawker, Malam Abubakar Isah, said that he had other businesses that could fetch him money if he was eventually taken off the street.

He said, ” I trade in livestock and poultry aside from coming here to sell Kulikuli.

“If they say they do not want us on the streets, I can relocate and continue my other businesses. It won’t be a challenge for me.”