By Ushang Ewa
Sellers at the ongoing Calabar Festival Christmas village are currently fighting for space to keep their tables and chairs in what one calls the “hot zone” to boost sales which some say has been slow.
The space been fought for is the small area located in front of the stage built by the state government to entertain sellers, buyers and spectators at the festival village inside the Botanic garden located along Mary Slessor avenue.
CrossRiverWatch gathered from some of the sellers that the area was not allocated to anyone but owing to the nature of the arrangement which sees over 50 stands selling food and drinks fall behind the stage, the owners seized initiative to bring their tables and chairs to an area where it is believed service and entertainment can best be served.
Further findings also reveal that the stand owners bring their tables as early as 6:00AM in the morning to occupy the “best spots” and retrieve them late at night when the shows are over with the sellers entering an agreement that each stand brings in only one table with chairs.
Some who choose to leave their tables there permanently could be heard shouting and exchanging words with their colleagues for shifting their tables or removing them in their absence.
They have been complaints from some sellers that the Botanic garden is “small”, “unsecured” and “not central”, which officials of the state government on scene have insisted is not true.
CrossRiverWatch recently reported that the non availability of electricity caused a protest by some of the sellers which though has been addressed, is still been considered as “inadequate” by some who say it should be continuous all day and “not the 6pm to around 1am arrangement we see here” says Stephen, a mobile phone vendor at the village.
As at press time, the fight was dying down with the operators yet to appear on scene to calm the situation.
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