Cross River State governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, has restated his commitment to legalise street hawking if his bill before the state House of Assembly is passed.
The governor, who disclosed this while briefing newsmen at the Executive Chambers in Calabar, yesterday, said that the state government will be the first to officially license hawking in the country as he awaits the approval of the bill by the state House of Assembly.
He said: “I have sent the Hawking Rights Bill to the House of Assembly to provide a regulatory framework that will provide the right to hawk. You cannot tell a man not to sell his goods on the streets because he cannot rent a store, yet you tell the man not to steal. Just provide a regulatory framework because to prohibit hawking is to tell a man that you don’t want him to eat.
“We are making provisions for a hawkers’ corridor. There must be a minimum age, you must be 18 and they must be seen to be properly dressed with reflective vests. They must have a time zone of when they come out, so as to be able to make optimal sales because we don’t want them to constitute nuisance in the environment.”
Ayade, who said that he was desperate to make a difference, added that Cross Riverians have a right to make an honest living within the ambit of the law, as there was no crime in making legitimate earnings from hawking as long as it was done under an effective regulatory framework.
“Prohibiting hawking is to tell a man that you don’t want to give him food, and you don’t also want him to steal, it is unfair. They have a right to determine how to live as long as it is within the ambit of the law. So, we are repealing anything that prohibits hawking in the state,” he added.