Ambode Acted Right On Street Trading Ban – Bamgbola | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Ambode Acted Right On Street Trading Ban – Bamgbola

BAMGBOLA
Posted: Jul 18, 2016 at 4:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Hon. Hakeem Bamgbola, Ag. State Secretary, All Progressives Congress (APC), Lagos State chapter is the former chairman, Itire/ Ikate Local Council Development Area (LCDA). In this interview with AUGUSTINE ADAH, he spoke on the need for state police, ban on street trading and alleged crack in APC. Excerpts:

Following enormous security challenges facing the country, many have advocated for the establishment of state police. What is your take on that?

I am of the opinion that we should have state police in the country because of the security situation in the country.   I think it is also the agitation of our party that we should have a state police. If you go to some of these developed countries like America and Britain,  you discover that they have neigbourhood police at the local, state and federal levels. It shows the people would be able to know their neighbours that live within a locality and be able to monitor their movements; because of the large population of the country, we need more security surveillance which we are not getting but we thank the present government who of recent, requested that enough policemen should be recruited. The ideal policing of the country should be one police to 10 persons, but what we are getting is  one police to 100 persons and there is no way that could go round because there would still be lapses. Why Neighbourhood Watch was established during the tenure of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as governor of Lagos State and raised to a particular level was for them to support the effort of Nigeria Police in a particular locality. I and our party support state police and we hope the government at the centre would be able to see the necessity to bring it to force.

The decision of Lagos State government to ban street trading has attracted a lot of criticism especially from the civil society groups.  Why do you think the government took the decision without providing alternatives?

I am in support of government decision to ban street trading in Lagos State. The civil society groups you mentioned I believe many of them travels abroad to places like Britain and America, do they see street trading there? If you want to sell your products, there is a designated place where you can do that. We have Saturday market, Sunday market where you can sell your goods.  But a situation where you have to run after moving vehicles is not ideal because we had incident of robbery happening in the process. Apart from that some of them sell fake products and there is no way you can trace the person that sell a fake product in a traffic gridlock. That is why we support the ban of street trading because anybody that wants to sell a product must look for a space in designated market places. Another problem there  is that it encourages a lot of our youths from going to school because the moment they can raise  N1,000 or N2,000, they become street trader and that that is why you see them running after moving vehicles in places like Maryland, Ikorodu, Island and other places in the state.  The civil society organisations  criticising government action must also understand what is happening in other parts of the world whether the kind of street trading going on in our country is how it is practiced in other countries of the world.
They are not happy that government did not provide an alternative for those involved
You cannot leave everything for the government. The modern practice now is Public Private Partnership (PPP) I have been at the local government and we encouraged people to build modern markets where people can sell their wares by providing land for them. We can encourage something like Sunday trading, a situation where we can close a street on Sunday and allows people to bring their wares and sell and probably open the street on every other days of the week. For me, I wouldn’t support street trading in any form at all. The ban on street trading is not a new thing may be it is attracting more attention because of recent incident that happened in the state. We have a lot of laws in the country that people are not obeying; it is not like it is a new thing in the state the only difference is that the state government is reminding the people of the existence of the law.

How true is the rumour that there are cracks within the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the national level?

There is no any crack at the national level of the party. The party is intact at the national level and there is no crack at all. But we need to sensitise our members about the issue of anti-corruption happening at the national level.  PDP today is alleging that the war against corruption is targeted at them  and because one or two of our members are undergoing trial on alleged corruption charges, then some people are now saying APC is cracking. The party is intact. The only thing is that it is trying to sanitise things.  When you have a rule and there is a need to change that rule, there is always a process. If they are clean, the court would pronounce them innocent. The trial is even boosting the image of our party that we are not limiting the case of anti-corruption to PDP members but our own party members are involved.  We don’t have factional national chairman or secretary at the moment, so it wrong for anybody to say the party is divided.

Are you sure APC would be able to retain Edo State in the forth coming governorship election?

I believe the present governor of the state, Adams Oshiomhole has done well, and it is left for the people of the state to judge and vote for continuity in the next election. To us he is one of the best governors that we are proud of. But it is left for the people of Edo State as I said to judge. We had PDP ruling in the state for years, but everybody including traditional rulers has been saying the man has done well in terms of providing infrastructure, employment to the people and other dividends of democracy.   I am sure we are going to win the governorship election in Edo and that of Ondo that would come up later.

As former chairman, what are some of the challenges facing local government areas?

The challenge we have is that the local government need a lot of support from the state government. We thank God that we have been getting a lot of support from the state government in terms of executing projects. We continue to seek the support of the state government in the running of local governments because it is the closet government to the people at the grassroots. But we thank God that in the state there is a lot of partnership. Presently, the government is constructing two roads in each local government and if you multiply 2 by 57, it gives you 114 and the governor promised to begin another set of roads the moment these ones are completed. Our party would do more for the people of the state, we thank God that the person we have as governor is a prudent manager of resources. It is only Lagos State that has not borrowed money from the federal government’s bailout fund.   It is as a result of the prudent way the government has been managing the resources of the state.  On what we have done, we on our part have donated equipment to Nigeria Police for about two times. We call them federal police, but for once, we have not seen them providing support to the police. We have not seen a new vehicle provided by the federal government for years. They come to the local government council to complain of their broken down vehicles and that is why the issue of having a local police is very important. If we are giving support, we must also have control, they called us chief security officer, but when something happen they report to Abuja.