Roadside traders in Bayelsa State, especially in Yenagoa, the state capital, are having tough times with the state’s sector of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC).
Despite several risks associated with roadside trading, the practice has continued for a long time. Apart from obstruction of traffic in areas where markets are located, accidents had occurred in such areas claiming lives and causing injuries.
But the Sector Commander, FRSC, Ikechukwu Igwe, said the practice would no longer be tolerated. He said time to restore sanity had come and insisted that traders must confine themselves with the marked squarmeters.
Igwe told the traders to leave the roads, especially the highways. He first led sensitisation tours to the market places that expose the traders to the dangers of roadside trading.
He said the exercise was aimed at educating the traders on all the risk factors, even as he warned them against disobedience to the directives of the corps. He said after the sensitisation, the penalties would follow immediately.
Igwe said: “There is a penalty for those traders who encroach on the road with their wares. Henceforth, anyone found guilty of roadside trading will be charged for road obstruction.
“Street trading involves perpetual movement that may occur within established market places or around road intersections. It results in several negative impacts on physical environment, especially as traffic congestion.
“It is a challenge in the state considering the fact that every market day there is always obstructions on the road, especially in one of the communities and one along the East-West Road.
“We sent our team to restrict the traders from encroaching on the roads. Even though most of our duties are on the highway, we adequately get involved in the cities.
“Our effort has reduced a lot of crashes on the roads around market places, especially the Zarama Market on the East-West Road.”
Igwe warned the traders that trading on the road remained an offence despite their claims that they were given a permit by some people