By Ushang Ewa
In a bid to keep the city of Calabar clean and green, the Calabar Urban Development Authority (CUDA) carried out what CrossRiverWatch gathered is tagged ‘Operation keep Calabar green’ by driving away street sellers with our reporter witnessing scenes of selective implementation of the directive.
The exercise which had much focus on the Murtala Mohammed highway saw goods of petty traders confiscated in several scenes of selective implementation as a section of them did not suffer the same fate especially the Efik speaking traders.
Notable among others was at the Army Jetty road in Ekorinim where two traders of Hausa origin had their goods confiscated with one lady served a quit notice while the rest were left untouched.
Speaking shortly after his goods were impounded, Salisu whose onions were taken told CrossRiverWatch that “They carried it without prior notice but I know what to do which is obvious and you (our reporter) should know it too, all they want is the money”.
When asked if he won’t report the matter of extortion and or bribery to relevant agencies he laughed and said “Oga na Nigeria we dey (We are in Nigeria)”.
A few metres away, a female CUDA staff was been quizzed by a man who stressed that it was improper to give one out of six traders a quit notice of three days, with two not given but their goods confiscated while the rest were treated as sacred cows which degenerated into a heated argument with exchange of words.
The man Sofoluwe (not actual name) who is of Yoruba extraction while speaking with CrossRiverWatch said “This is bad, it brews crisis. Imagine if this man goes back home and something like this is happening and discovers one there is from here, he uses the person as a scapegoat because he was not treated fairly here. You want to serve quit notice? Serve to all, you want to confiscate, do it to all and not implement selectively allowing your language man or woman a free hand. It is not fair”.
When CrossRiverWatch approached staff of CUDA to ask why there was selective implementation, they kept quiet and pretended not to hear what was been asked while a dark man about five foot tall kept conversing in Efik with a corn seller who kept giving them corn and pea without payment.
CrossRiverWatch approached her and she kept saying “abeg buy corn if you wan buy or comot, I no want trouble”.
About twenty minutes later one of the vehicles, a white Toyota Hilux pick up van with ‘CUDA’ boldly written on it with license plate ‘CR 446 AO1’ drove away with the goods confiscated and stopped at Highway by Army Jetty road with a staff in the vehicle signalling to the women selling banana and groundnut to come over in what CrossRiverWatch later gathered was intel that another drive was scheduled for Monday, August 31, 2015.
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