Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, 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 on Thursday during an interaction with journalists in Calabar, said it was insensitive for any state government in Nigeria to ban hawking without providing an alternative.
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.”
The governor also said the expansion of his new government by engaging about 800 appointees was deliberate in order to ensure that more persons were empowered financially.
He disclosed that he was going to announce 300 more appointees in the coming week.
Ayade also said that he would rather spend four years paying salaries so as to reduce hunger and quit as governor than spend money on projects and politicians.
The governor said that the presidential system adopted from the United States of America was not the best in running Nigeria.
According to him, there are better ways to run Nigeria as the country cannot just adopt a system of governance from the US that is 200 years ahead of and expect such a system to work.