Developing Story: Calabar South Chair Esther Bassey didn’t ask me to kneel, I knelt… Mrs Faith Elechi

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Contrary to what a still photograph which featured first on Cross River cyberspace on Monday suggesting one female petty trader was ordered by the chairperson of Calabar South LG, Esther Bassey, to kneel down before her in full public glare, information reaching our news desk has it that things are not as it seemed to the viewing public.

The said female petty trader, Mrs Faith Elechi who deals on fairly used clothes popularly called Okrika, who was seen on Monday in a video footage kneeling before the local council chairperson did not kneel out of duress but, willingly out of respect for the office Hon. Bassey currently occupies.

Elechi said, ‘No! No! No! I beg Mma because Mma senior me for this place… Mma no ask me to kneel down, I kneel down deh beg am because of the office’, she explained in vernacular.

Elechi further appealed to the local government of Calabar South to resolve the ongoing face-off between the petty traders and Calabar South LGA youths and the local government over daily ticketing. She appealed to the chairperson to reduce a fraction from the daily ticketing of seven hundred and fifty Naira (N750.00).

While reacting to the plea, Hon Bassey explained that where the traders are was previously a car park for decongesting the traffic at the Watt market area. She admitted that when she was immediately sworn in the traders approached her asking her to effect a downward review of the daily ticketing of N750, she was forward to address the request and invited over a hundred youth who are beneficiaries of a chunk of the daily ticketing levy to sort out a way of achieving a downward review but, the youth declined angrily.

According to Chairperson Bassey, ‘I invited the youth, they came out in their numbers over hundred of them, and I asked and pleaded with them if there is a way to reduce it, they got very angry with me’. She added that the beneficiary youth observed that the youth explained that the present levy regime was a product of an agreement between themselves and the petty traders. And that arrangement has been responsible for peace in between them.

Bassey disclosed that the disagreement resulted into two options : either the petty traders will resort to the what she called the Okrika Line inside the main Watt Market and the space is used originally for car-parking giving them the opportunity to get park toll, or they remain in the space and continue with the daily ticketing levy.

According to her, if they resort to the said Okrika Line, they will pay seventy Naira (N70) only daily ticketing instead of N750 elsewhere.

However, in an interraction with the leadership of the petty traders under the auspices of Unified Traders Association at Shopping Centre complex, represented by the chairman Ike Bassey they argued that there is no such space to accommodate two hundred and fifty petty traders.

Recall that 250 petty traders who deal on fairly used clothings at Shopping Centre complex, Watt Market under the auspices of Unified Traders Association are currently in a face-off with the youth of Wards 3 in Calabar South over daily ticketing amounting to seven hundred and fifty Naira.