Watt market Extortion: calabar south chairman React over news.

It has come to our notice that some media outlets are misinforming the public on issues regarding tolls at the Shopping centre complex, Watt Market, Calabar.
The council observed with dismay that some media outlets reported that the Council is using intimidation to extort N750 daily toll and N5000 from some petty traders at the said location.

ALSO READ: Calabar south petty traders exposed millions extorted yearly from them

This is to inform the public that:

The Fosbery area of Watt market has been reserved for Second hand clothing, popularly known as “Okrika” traders where they can rent a shop for as low as N60,000 /70,000 annually depending on the location while an open spades goes for N24,000 yearly.

Renewal fee goes for N10,000 for shop owners and N5000 for open spade.

The tickets at Fosbery area are sold at government-controlled rate @ N70 daily

N50- for sanitation
N20-for daily ticket

The open space at Shopping complex was originally designed to be used as a car park, a legitimate revenue sub-head in the council, however, those handling this parking slot as revenue could no longer generate money as a result of the illegal trading activities by Okrika traders.

ALSO READ: Calabar South LGA chairman evacuate refuse bin.

Because these traders left their shops at watt market to operate from an illegal space, they agreed to pacify the park slot owner by paying N200 levy daily:
Sanitation morning and evening-#150
Internal Security-#100
Council #100 weekly
Min of Environment- #50

The Council submits thus:

  1. Traders are under no obligation to pay the sum of N750 daily ticketing levy neither is the council using intimidation to force them to secure the council’s agreement form of good conduct with a penalty fee of N5000 for an attempt to cause unrest in the market.
  2. Okrika traders who cannot afford to pay the stipulated amount are to vacate the shopping complex open space and relocate to Okrika line (Fosbery) where traders are billed N70 only for daily ticket (the government approved rate) as they will not be allowed to display their goods without showing proof of payment.
  3. That the N750 toll is a sum total of various levies that was negotiated and agreed to be paid by those Okrika traders to the youths and other channels during previous administration.
  4. That the council only bills traders N70 daily N50 for sanitation and N20 for ticket daily, while the balance of N750 are paid to community youths, internal security team and the park owner. All these arrangements have been in existence for almost 10years before the advent of the Esther Bassey’s led administration.

However, there is also monthly payment of N500 for the community while the council charges N30,000 yearly for allocation of space in the shopping center complex. It might interest the public to know that some of the okrika exco acquired between 8 to10 spaces at 30k annually but decide to milk their fellow traders for 25k monthly, totalling 300k yearly for a space, which is one of the reasons they are not ready to give up the car park.

The news reported by Negroidhaven is misleading, biased and lopsided. Negroidhaven should desist from tarnishing the image of the Esther Bassey’s led administration by spreading false information as it defeats the code and ethics of Journalism and full weight of the law will be employed should there be a repeat in future.

Ruth Ekeng
SA. New Media


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