Chairman, Akwa Ibom Tourism and Hospitality Practitioners’ Association (AKTHOPA), Mr. Usen Udoh says over time Uyo, the capital city of Akwa Ibom State hs developed a reputation for her welcoming atmosphere and willingness to provide opportunities for visitors.
Mr. Udoh maintained that Uyo city tourism has become one of the fastest growing travel experience in the country and that the changing nature of the city’s tourism charm has become increasingly apparent to many tourists, just as he commended the state governor, Pastor Umo Bassey Eno’s recent directive to get rid of street traders off the streets of Uyo metropolis.
He maintained that Uyo is fast developing to be a smart city as an emerging tourism and hospitality hub where traditional networks and services are made more effective and efficient with the use of digital solutions for the benefit of its inhabitants and businesses under the “golden era” administration of Pastor Umo Eno with the mantra, “Arising together”.
Mr. Udoh who decried many occupational hazards that are associated with street trading, noted that Uyo metropolis which has been adjudged the cleanest state in Nigeria for five consecutive times, remains one of the cleanest cities in Africa, offering tasty indigenous flavour and appeal to visitors with courtesy.
The Managing Director/CEO of Legacy Tourism Development Services Ltd Uyo, reiterated that the state government’s directive to market leaders to collaborate with government to get rid of erring streets traders, whose activities frequently cause traffic jam on major roads around the metropolis, will prevent potential health hazards of poor hygiene and sanitation, which could constitute sources of pollution and disease transmission.
He therefore, urged the street traders to comply with the governor’s directive relocate to the markets provided by the government as alternative selling points off the main streets, informing that street trading activities come with such occupational hazards like injuries sustained from road traffic accidents and harassment through indiscriminate arrest, seizure and confiscation of their merchandise and occasional incarceration of sellers in police cells.
The AKTHOPA chairman applauded the efforts of the Akwa Ibom Traders’ Association President and immediate past Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the former governor on Trade and Market Matters, Hon. Akparawa Idorenyin Raphael for his ingenuity in embarking on a sensitisation tour to markets in Uyo and environs to educate traders on the dangers of street trading and roadside hawking, appealing to comply with the government’s directive to relocate to existing markets.
Akparawa Raphael during his sensitisation visits to the markets had maintained that the activities of roadside traders were unacceptable to the state government and that non compliance to the earlier directive will leave the relevant authorities with no option than to protect the majority of other road users and law abiding citizens by enforcement of the directive.
He informed them that the state government has given street traders and roadside hawkers one month period of grace to relocate to existing markets or face the wrath of the law at the expiration of the ultimatum.
The Traders Association’s President described Governor Umo Eno as traders friendly, even as he expressed gratitude to Pastor Umo Bassey Eno for approving the installation of solar lights and internal drainage system at Akpan Andem market within Uyo metropolis and flag off of the construction of Ndiya street near the market to boost socio-economic development in the area in fulfilment of his electioneering campaign promise.
Other places visited by market leaders include Ibom Plaza, Etuk Street by Aka Road, Ikot Ekpene Road, Oron Road, Abak Road, and Itam market on Calabar Itu Highway.
It will be recalled that the street vendors who sell variety of products, including food, clothing, electronics, jewelry, crafts, and secondhand goods, often rely on foot traffic and impulse buying to make sales, using creative marketing strategies to attract customers.