THE Oyo State chapter of the Newspapers Distributors Association of Nigeria (NDAN) has disclosed that vendors in the state, will on Wednesday, February 13, commence a strike action to protest arrest, harassment and intimidation of their members by officials of the Youth Empowerment Scheme of Oyo State (YES-O).
The association in a release signed by its chairman and general secretary; Mr Olalekan Ahmed and Mr Tunde Abimbola, respectively, a copy of which was made available to the Nigerian Tribune stated that its decision was to protest “the recent arrests, harassments and intimidations of our vendors by the agents of Oyo State government” while on their daily business activities.
The development, according to the statement, noted that the association, in its effort to make the state government see reasons the vendors should be allowed to sell newspapers on the road, led to series of meetings held between representatives of the state government and vendors in the state.
In his reaction, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, Dr Adedayo, said “the urban renewal effort of the state government is aimed at ensuring that anyone who vends his or her wares does not do this by the road side and this includes newspaper vendors.”
Adedayo further stated that “to have them (vendors) scatter their wares by the roadside is not in anyone’s interest. Essentially, they pose potential danger, in that vehicles could run them and those patronising them over. This is unacceptable to government. The government has designed kiosks, the type vendors in civilised societies use and will soon make them available to their union. The government and the governor’s concern is to protect their dignity as vendors and protect the lives of our people.”
Nigerian Tribune gathered that on several occasions, the state Commissioner of Environment and Habitat had met with the vendors and an agreement was reached that in the process of vending newspapers, they should not contravene state environmental laws.
The meeting, it stated, had in attendance the state Commissioner for Environment and Habitat, Mr Lowo Obisesan and the Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, Dr Festus Adedayo, with a promise that things would change.
The statement further informed that “during discussions, both the Special Assistant on Media and the Commissioner for Environment made it clear to us that the Governor Abiola Ajimobi is not aware of the plight of our vendors.