The dilemma of managing the challenges of street vending in public spaces: The case of Enugu City, Nigeria

Vincent Aghaegbunam Onodugoa, Nkeiru Hope Ezeadichieb, Chioma Agatha Onwunemeb, Adanma Ebere Anosikeb
  • Article Title: The dilemma of managing the challenges of street vending in public spaces: The case of Enugu City, Nigeria
  • Title of Journal: Cities
  • Vol #: 59

Abstract: Urbanisation trend in sub-Saharan Africa in general and Nigeria in particular, is characterised by rapid urban population growth stimulated by rural-urban migration and natural increase. Most of the poor urban migrants lack the education and skill requirements to fit into highly rigid formal sector and thus naturally end up in the informal segment of the urban economy. Street vending, the most prominent sub-sector of informal economy, is a common feature of cities in Nigeria. It accounts for over 70% of the urban employment in Nigeria and yet urban planners view it as a public nuisance and misuse of the public space. This negative perception informs their mono-response to street vending by frequent repressive actions aimed at exterminating the phenomenon without success. This article examines the context, character and motivations for street vending using an empirical study of the experience in Enugu, a Southeast-Nigerian city. It seeks to explore all the possible alternative policy options for handling the phenomenon. This study made use of qualitative survey research method. Data was collected mainly through the administration of two sets of questionnaires to street vendors and urban planners using systematic random sampling technique. This was complemented by in-depth interview of professional urban planners. Results showthat the usual approach of insisting on evicting street vendors has largely been unsuccessful (with a failure rate of 79.6%). Archival data reveals that Enugu State had a “Hawkers and petty stall holders' bye-law” enacted in 1917 by the then colonial government to raise revenue and regulate the activities of street vendors. This study proposes that urban planners should, review, update and possibly use that byelaw. It also recommends that planners should benchmark useful lessons from successful participatory models as applicable in projects like the Warwick Junction Urban Renewal Project in Durban, South Africa.

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