From Abigail Anosike
Given the nature of Abuja, many residents rely on markets in the satellite towns and settlements for their daily needs especially food items. Others believe that goods including clothes and foot wares are far cheaper in such markets.
Little wonder weekly markets in Karmo, Kabusa, Gwosa, Nyanya and a few others in nearby Nasarawa and Niger states remain attractive to Abuja households.
However, several residents take the Nyanya Market as the only suitable place to get their daily needs. Not even the perennial traffic gridlock in the area could scare them away.
Many had thought that the two bomb blasts at Nyanya Bridge Motor Park in 2014 and 2015 would have affected activities at the market. But strangely, aside the periods the area was barricaded following its proximity to the blast site, the market has remained a beehive, bringing together people from far and near.
Twin bombs had in the early hour of April 14, 2014, when people rushed for their daily business, exploded at a crowded bus station, killing scores of people and injuring over 200. Just like the 2014 incident, last year’s blast was few meters away from the market. The fortunate aspect of the blasts was that they did not happen on market days.
In fact, the Nyanya Bridge Motor Park and indeed the Abuja-Keffi Expressway section of the area are habitually swarmed during the weekly market day on Wednesdays, with people overflowing from the market. The roadside is usually filled with dealers on second hand clothing materials, popularly called Okirika, who try to outdo one another as they display their goods.
Daily Sun had inquired to know what makes the market boom every week despite the horrible traffic situation in that axis of the FCT. A regular visitor to the market, Mrs. Margret Eke, said it is just okirika that brings her to the market: “Any kind of size, grade and quality; any how you want it, you will find it in Nyanya Market. It is both for the rich and the poor.”
A second year student of the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), who would not want her name in print said the attraction of the market is that goods, especially okirika are sold at the cheapest and most affordable prices there.
The student named other weekly markets around the FCT to include Karmo (Tuesday), Madalla (Thursday), Gwosa (Friday) and Kabusa (Saturday). She said none of them could be compared to Nyanya Market in terms of low prices of goods. She added that even the closeness of Karu Market could not whittle down its popularity.
However, a trader in Nyanya Market, who gave his as Ike Cotonou, complained that they suffer space constraints, making them to display their wares along the major road, hence contravening the environmental laws. He said the situation has made them and the task force to become cat and mouse, with valuable goods seized and destroyed in the process.
The okirika dealer also said that the current economic crunch has adversely affected their sales, even as he complained that some ladies merely come to the market to steal in the pretence of wanting to make purchases:
“But when we catch them, we disgrace them very well. In fact, it is like a rule here that when we catch such petty thieves, we strip them naked. And we catch them almost every market day.”
Although, the trader could not say whether the increasing cases of stealing of second hand wears by ladies in the market was because of the present hardship in the country, but he commended the government for providing adequate security in and around the market.