Festival traders lament poor sales

…insist Delta govt didn’t give them free stands

 Some traders at the ongoing National Sports Festival have lamented a drop in sales at the national sports showpiece.

They also denied a recent statement by the festival’s promoter Bukola Olopade, that the Delta State Government didn’t collect money from them to operate their businesses during the festival.

Olopade had told reporters at a press briefing inside the media centre of the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba that the traders operating around the festival areas were granted free spaces by the Delta State Government.

“We wanted to charge money from everyone with kiosks out there, but Governor Ifeanyi Okowa said no and allowed everyone out there for free, we did not charge a kobo. We need to applaud the government of Delta State for that,” Olopade had said.

However, some of the traders denied Olopade’s claims, with some of them operating inside and outside the stadium insisting they paid.

Lilian Ubagu, who came from Anambra State to sell her grilled chicken and fruit salad, and has a stand at the back of the stadium, told our correspondent that her husband made payment before she could operate there.

“We paid N20,000 for this stand, for us to sell throughout the festival. I am not making anything. I thought I was going to make more sales than I have at this point because we went to Benin City last year for the festival and I made a lot more,” Ubagu said.

Mrs Elizabeth Mobosi, who sells snacks and drinks in a shop, said, “We agreed on N10,000 (with the organisers) but since I have been here, there has been no sales. The hawkers, who didn’t pay any amount are affecting our sales.”

A food seller, l who only told our correspondent her first name, Victoria, and operates at one of the stands at the side of the stadium, also lamented the lack of sales, saying sales dropped after the opening ceremony.

“We thought everyday was going to be like the first day (opening ceremony) because the population was much, and they told us all sorts of positive things for us to take the place but little did we know that not all games are being played here. So, that affected the sales,” she said.

However, a man selling clothes in front of the stadium, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said not everyone paid to get spaces to sell their goods.

“Not everyone paid here, but those inside the stadium paid. For some of us outside, some paid N6,000 while some have not been asked to pay yet,” he said.

“There are no sales. I have been going for festivals since the one in Abuja, but the one in Benin City has been the best for traders because everything was around the same place; here it’s scattered.”

Our correspondent further gathered that not everyone operating at the stadium paid for the stands as a lady by the name, Collette Ibegbunem, who sold hibiscus cocktails, said she didn’t pay for her stand.

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