ASO CHRON­I­CLES Mad rush for used clothes at Kubwa vil­lage mar­ket

Daily Trust - - ASO CHRONICLE - By Seun Adeuyi

Some years back, used wears, pop­u­larly called okrika, were of­ten as­so­ci­ated with the very poor, but at the mo­ment, it is a dif­fer­ent story as, even the well-to-do also pa­tron­ize them.

Aso Chron­i­cle, on Sun­day vis­ited The Kubwa vil­lage used clothes mar­ket, which is lo­cated few kilo­me­tres from the Na­tional Youth Ser­vice Corps (NYSC) ori­en­ta­tion camp and it was in­trigu­ing to see how peo­ple of all classes scram­bled for used clothes of all shapes, de­signs and sizes.

Traders spread bunches of the used clothes on the ground just out­side the mar­ket build­ing and call out to cus­tomers to come and make their choices. Our re­porter found out that it is one of the busiest mar­kets for used clothes in the FCT as it starts very early in the morn­ing un­til evening.

The traders, who are mostly Hausa, start their busi­ness as early as 6:00a.m.on Sun­days; with buy­ers who are mostly men, squat or bend down to search through the clothes to select their choices.

The used clothes are given dif­fer­ent names, some of them de­scrib­ing how cus­tomers go for the clothes while oth­ers are just di­alec­tal vari­a­tions of the gen­eral name by which the clothes are known in Nige­ria. Pop­u­lar names such as ‘bend­down-select, aso gbanjo, ok and gwanjo, de­pend­ing on which part of the coun­try one is com­ing from.

A trader in the used clothes, Muhammed Umar, told Aso Chron­i­cle that he makes as much as N30, 000 on a good mar­ket day and if it does not rain and he has first grade okirika. Ac­cord­ing to Umar, some­times he em­ploys young boys for a day to help in co­or­di­nat­ing sales.

“At the end of the day, I have to pay them. To­day is Sun­day, to­mor­row, we will be at another mar­ket in the city to con­tinue, be­cause we have lots of good sweaters and they must fin­ish be­fore the rain goes away,” he said, pick­ing up some of the sweaters.

Us­man Bello, an el­derly trader in the mar­ket, who deals in shorts and trousers, said that he has been in the busi­ness for five years and has been us­ing the pro­ceeds from it to spon­sor his chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion and fend for his fam­ily.

“I sell ac­cord­ing to how I buy and Al­lah has been faith­ful to me. On a very good Sun­day, I make as much as N20, 000 as profit. Most peo­ple pre­fer our okrika to bou­tique clothes be­cause what we sell last longer,” he said.

Another trader at the mar­ket, Emeka Ikechukwu, who started the sec­ond hand busi­ness fif­teen years ago in Aba, said that through the trade, he has been able to build a house and also buy a car, adding that he had been able to travel round Africa through the oc­cu­pa­tion.

“You find more qual­ity things here than new ones in bou­tiques and any qual­ity thing you see here is cheaper when com­pared to bou­tique prices. Like that one can go for N800, but in bou­tiques, they would tell you N4, 500,” he said, point­ing at a blouse.

In her view, Mrs. Ibikunle Adeg­benro, who deals in ba­bies wears said that the busi­ness is not as lu­cra­tive as it was be­fore, adding that she no longer get qual­ity ma­te­ri­als like she was get­ting it be­fore, lament­ing that it has se­ri­ously af­fected her busi­ness.”

“Be­fore, if I open a bag, I would see dif­fer­ent at­trac­tive clothes, but the story has changed, but I still make some profit,” she said.

Some of the men, who came with their kids, were seen pric­ing clothes and shoes for their wards.

Ibrahim Sadiq said the prices of new clothes have be­come so high that his en­tire house­hold now re­lies on used clothes, adding: “The lit­tle money I have can pur­chase many clothes here for me and my four chil­dren, be­cause the price is af­ford­able.”

A young man look­ing at trousers in one of the sheds, who sim­ply gave his name as Sadiq, said that he started pa­tron­iz­ing the mar­ket last year, be­cause, “here, e dey cheaper and they get qual­ity things wey good, pass the one for bou­tiques.” He added: “The new ones from bou­tiques are flashy but sub­stan­dard. A fairly used trousers can serve me for the next four years.

The last one I bought served me for four years and I have come for another.”

Chima Em­manuel, another buyer said he started buy­ing sec­ond hand clothes when he came into the FCT and dis­cov­ered they are all durable and cheaper, com­pared to the ones sold at ex­or­bi­tant prices in bou­tiques and do not last long.

“A shirt in a bou­tique can cost N3, 000.

The same amount will fetch me five fairly used clothes that I will use hap­pily for the next five years,” Chima said.

Aso Chron­i­cle find­ings how­ever re­vealed that wear­ing used clothes can ex­pose one to sev­eral health haz­ards.

A med­i­cal prac­ti­tioner who craved anonymity ad­vised that buy­ers should wash used clothes thor­oughly be­fore us­ing them to avoid get­ting in­fected with bac­te­ria, adding that shoes should be left out in the sun for sev­eral days be­fore wear­ing.

Cus­tomers scram­ble to select used clothes at Kubwa Sun­day mar­ket.

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