No fewer than 1000 street hawkers from Ebonyi State are knocked down by vehicles while plying their trade in most major cities in the country, a human rights organisation, the Centre for Democracy (CD), has said.
Speaking with LEADERSHIP in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, the state chairman of the group, Comrade Onu Ogbonnaya Onu, described the development as unacceptable, and therefore, called on the state government to repatriate the hawkers, most of them of school age, to attend primary and secondary schools in the state.
He disclosed that the hawkers from the state are mainly found on major roads in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Umuahia, Onitsha, Warri, and said that the time had come for the state government to take practical steps to reduce the number of hawkers from the state who are knocked down by vehicles while selling items on the roads of some major cities in the country.
“The increasing rate of Ebonyi youths who are killed by vehicles while hawking goods along major streets of Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Umuahia, Onitsha and Warri, has become worrisome, and indeed pathetic, and therefore, the Ebonyi State government should act urgently to bring back these boys to the state, and get them enrolled in primary and secondary schools.
“Our findings show that 7000 Ebonyi youths of school age are scattered across the cities of Lagos, Port Harcourt, Onitsha, Warri, Abuja, etc, despite the estimated death rate of 1000 youths annually who get knocked down by vehicles while selling their goods.
“We urge Governor Dave Umahi, to create an enabling environment for these youths to access education by subsidizing the cost of education for Ebonyians by 60 per cent”, said Ono.
The group regretted that despite the ban on hawking on major roads in Lagos State by the immediate past administration in that state, hundreds of Ebonyians between the ages of 10 and 40, still hawk various items along such roads, stating that the ban on street hawking affected many Ebonyi indigenes resident in Lagos, who had no other source of livelihood.