By Ushang Ewa
Sellers and stall owners at the ongoing Christmas Festival village at the botanical garden in Calabar Thursday protested what they say is the unstable supply of electricity to their stands despite the high bill they paid to operators to secure them.
The stand owners (mostly women) at about 7:30 PM marched to the building alleged to be housing the office of one Mr. Henshaw who is said to have allocated the stands after payment chanting songs asking him to either provide electricity or return their monies to them.
One of the ladies who spotted this reporter complained bitterly saying that “Henshaw must give us our money, no be to f**k people give them stands, let him give us our money” she screamed, adding that “you better show this thing for TV make people hear o”.
One of the ladies could be seen crying and asking the said Mr. Henshaw to return her money as she was running at loss. Her colleague could also be heard shouting “we dey cook food, e dey spoil because of no light. Give us light or our money make we go”.
Another kept screaming “poverty o!” While her colleagues chanted “we need light” with another adding that “this is the worst Christmas village” and “pay us our money”.
The said Mr. Henshaw did not appear almost an hour after with some men who appeared to be his employees urging the protesting women to be calm as he will soon appear.
Our reporter left the scene at about 8:30 PM and reports that the ladies were still protesting.
CrossRiverWatch confirmed from certain sources in the state government and Henshaw’s team that power supply has been epileptic with stall owners operating in darkness during the first three days.
Some have brought in their smaller power generating sets as backup as they await power supply.
As at press time, sources on ground informed CrossRiverWatch that the sellers decided to take their grievances a notch higher by “taking necessary actions with either Henshaw or any of the state government functionaries who visits the village”.
Earlier, the Special Assistant Administration to the Governor, Noel Ugbong had told CrossRiverWatch in an interview that they were “aware” of the epileptic power supply disclosing that the state government had intervened in the situation by providing a power generating plant.
He said efforts were been made to install the plant and fix the broken one to ensure there is electricity.
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