Hawking or street selling in Nigeria and Africa at large is a unique phenomenon that arose out of the need to solve societal problems such as unemployment, poverty and consumer goods accessibility. It is a booming informal sector that has proved resilient despite various governmental efforts aimed at eradicating it.
Johnnywriter recalled “In 2008, the Lagos state government banned child street hawking during school hours to reduce the practice. But since then, addressing child street hawking has not been on the government’s agenda.”
Street hawking has huge implications for children’s physical and emotional well being. It exposes them to sexual abuse , physical exhaustion, vehicle accidents, death and drug and substance abuse and prostitution.
Why I’m I giving out these points?
Is because I want you to understand what these people are going through and how hard it is for them.
Johnnywriter’s short line experience:
After receiving insults from someone who should be my younger sister’s age or less, I felt bad because he didn’t have morals maybe because I was with a carton of gizzards trying to market my products. Normally I go to offices,hotels and bars to market my products but I decides to do something different that night. ” I want to know how it feels to be like these Vendors, like these hawkers” I said to myself . A lady who stood with him had to apologize for the embarrassment, “Is okay my dear ” I put up an expression of acceptance and left. The first time have gone out to see how the world is, was the day my life changed forever.
Getting to 10:59pm, Keke riders were busy looking for customers at the gate of Asaba Shopping mall(shoprite) at Okpanam Road, Asaba. I approached a young Lady in a professional manner but her words was the worst thing I ever heard in a long time, it wasn’t how I perceived her to be because of her appearance “Are you using this garnished gizzard to kill people or is that what baba(juju man) said you should sell and be rich after certain period of time? ” I was shocked, “No madam” I replied, she walked out on me and that night made me realize what the street hawkers /Vendors are/were going through..
I can still recall how I walked home with tears running down my cheeks, not for what I experienced that night but because of the hawkers on the street. “If they can do that to me, a well dressed and outspoken man then what happens to the street hawkers/Vendors” I asked myself
I hates seeing people maltreating the hawkers, They are humans. Why do you have to disrespect them?. They are serving you and all you can do is to disrespect them, why?
I was on a bus when a man beside me ordered for a gala and a sachet water, after receiving his order, the traffic light changed to green. I saw an old woman running after our bus and requesting for her money but she couldn’t meet up with the bus.. I was furious, “sir why didn’t you give her the money on time before the light turns green? “I asked, but his response made me more angry that I started shouting at him, telling him if I was the driver I would have thrown him out. Some People inside the bus were against his actions while some didn’t say anything. Telling me that it wasn’t a big deal was what made me angry. These are humans and they deserve respect.
Johnnywriter said “Poverty is driving a rise in the number of Nigerian child hawkers and if the government cannot help, we should offer help to one another”.
No matter how you want to see it, I believe those are the people you definitely need to offer help to. They offer services to you not begging. They are not beggars, but sellers. They negotiate with you just to serve you not with guns but with pain in their eyes.. They believe in their hardwork, they are the real hustlers. So ask yourself these questions :
why do you have to disrespect the hawkers?
Why do you have to insult a boy who’s a survivor?
Why do you neglect a woman who has a rubber of sachets water on her head, hawking from morning till night just to feed her family, calling her “dirty”?
Why are you pushing away the street hawkers?
Among those, are the future leaders of this beautiful country!
Among those, are the Masters degree holders, Scholars, PhD and the list goes on and on.
Among those, are your destiny helpers
You might ask how? Well, let me tell you “no condition is permanent, you might be driving today but someone hawking on the street might have a brighter future way more than yours and that’s life… Deal with it.
Among those, are people who can actually transform this country if they were in your position. “Remember, someone is praying for what you have today” (use it well) said Johnnywriter.
Among those, are people who might save your life tomorrow!
So I ask “What if one day you wake up and find yourself in their position?
How would you want to be treated?
How would you want your family members to be treated if life turns against them?
Say no to maltreatment of the street hawkers, they are humans just like us.
They should feel loved and encouraged.