The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, has found himself at the center of a storm of criticism following his decision to prohibit all forms of street trading within the federal capital.
The announcement was made during a meeting with the management staff of the Federal Capital Territory Administration and Federal Capital Development Authority.
Wike’s rationale for the ban stemmed from concerns about the contribution of street traders, including those vending corn, to crime and instability in the city. “Street trading is prohibited,” declared the minister, emphasizing the potential security risks associated with the practice. He elaborated, “People selling corn will drop their waste indiscriminately and these are the things that cause insecurity. Criminals come to buy and use the opportunity to spy and give information to criminals. It is imperative we clear street hawkers.”
The minister also pointed out the pervasive issue of unauthorized structures and shanties throughout the city, referring to development control as a pressing challenge. He pledged a strict stance on this matter: “Why are there illegal structures and shanties everywhere? We will demolish any illegal structure. No matter how highly placed, the structure will come down.”
However, the move has not been without its detractors. A wave of criticism has emerged on social media platforms as citizens voiced their concerns over the timing of the ban, particularly amid the economic hardships triggered by the recent removal of the fuel subsidy by the federal government.
Mark Momoh, an individual using the handle @MarkMomoh, appealed to Wike’s sensibilities, urging him to consider the struggling state of the nation. “Somebody should plz tell Mr. Minister @GovWike that we are in hard times and people all over Nigeria are doing legit to survive,” he tweeted. “Plz don’t destroy people’s source of food all in the name of beautification on an empty stomach. U can do better.”
Another user, Godwin Uche (@GodwinUche), expressed skepticism about the minister’s priorities, suggesting that the focus should be on addressing more pressing matters. “Is Wike alright? Someone should please check on him. Clear street hawkers from the city of Abuja if that’s what you want to do but don’t call them criminals or accomplices pretending you don’t know who the real criminals are. These people try to survive legally, don’t mock them.”
Critics like @trueAFICIONADO raised concerns about potential inequality in the enforcement of the ban, speculating that it might disproportionately affect the less privileged. “@Wike is the type that will betray the entire classroom, so that he’d be called a good boy by the teacher. Well, the Armageddon is about to begin. Enjoy the ride while it lasts.”
As the controversy rages on, citizens continue to engage in discussions about the ban’s implications on livelihoods and the socio-economic landscape. Many are calling for a more balanced approach that considers the economic challenges faced by street traders and suggests alternative solutions to address their needs.