New Telegraph

Lamentations of Kurudu Market women

Mrs. Ebere Nnamdi is a widow. She’s one of the Kurudu Market Women, lamenting the relocation of the market to a distance many of them considered extreme for their customers. Nnamdi, who sells food stuff, told our reporter that the profit realised from the sales of her products, was what her family depended on for survival. She said: “I know this business very well. I have been doing it right from when I was young. When I was at the old market, I made good sales and we never lacked. In fact, even after the demise of my husband, I had continued to make good sales. But since the government instructed that we relocate to the newly built Kurudu Ultra-Modern Market, we’ve been having poor patronage because the new market is somehow hidden and far from people’s residence.

We’re not finding business easy anymore.” In order to discourage roadside trading, the market leadership and AMAC-Investment and Property Development Company (AMAC IPDC), moved the traders to the new site. The market was moved from Kurudu roadside to Azharta Phase 5, both at a suburb of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, municipal area. Chairmanof AMACIPDC, AbdullahiCandido, urgedthetraderstoleavetheroadsideand occupythenewmarket, soastofreetheroadof congestion and allow free flow of traffic. The Managing Director, AMACIPDC, YakubuAdamu, said thattherelocationof themultibillion naira ultra-modern Kurudu Market would lead to job creation and boost economic activities within the area and its environs. Sadly, most of the traders, who are supposed to be the beneficiaries of the new innovation, are not smiling.

They lamented that the new site comes with many challenges. Nnamdi also said: “I spend money on transportation daily to come to the market and at the end of the day, we don’t return home with enough money. True, the new market is neat and spacious, but the level of patronage is low compared to the old location.” She further stated that she sells vegetables and fruits, which were perishables. Most times, these items go bad because she is unable to sell them, causing her to incur debts. She added: “I just finished paying off some debts.

Thetruthisthatnomatteryourchallenges, peoplewhosupplythevegetablesandfruits arenotinterested. Alltheywant istheirmoney. I had to stop buying and stocking so much in order to avoid incurring continual losses. “Again, customers prefer to buy vegetables and fruits when they are fresh.

However, I must confess that patronage is becoming better than when we initially started.” Rachael Baro’s cries hinged on shop rent, which she said was a burden. According to her, the sales were low, while the rent is high. She said it was difficult to cope. A provision seller, Dorcas Ilemona, complained bitterly: “Shops in this market are bigger and more expensive. I like the beauty of the new market, but the level of patronage is poor. I want the government to help us call the attention of the public to the new market since they insisted we should relocate here.

“Some of my colleagues who turned deaf ears to the government’s instruction on relocation are still having massive sales at the old market. But here we are, sleeping in the market instead of being busy. This market is far from the road and people are not finding it easy to come here. “Many preferred shops located by the road sides.

If nothing is done to call buyers’ attention to the new market, some of us will soon be out of business. This is because most of our goods have expiring dates.” A kitchen ware seller, Grace Okafor, said: “I don’t like staying idle at home, which is why I still come to this market. The business is no longer what it used to be due to the economic situation on ground and the new market location, which people are yet to be familiar with. “Why I’m not feeling it as much as other women traders is because I have other shops. I have a few others in the heart of the city, where sales are good. I prefer coming to this particular shop because it’s close to my house, and any day I don’t feel like coming, I will just relax at home. “I sell kitchen wares and I am not under any pressure because they are not perishable.

I even move goods from here to my other shops because this particular market is just too far away.” Glory Tobi also has something to say about the situation confronting the traders. She said: “I sold yams and plantains by the road side at the old market. I have children who are going to school and school will be resuming soon. I don’t even know where to start because I had not saved enough before we were relocated to this new site. The little I had saved had been used to feed. Business is no longer flourishing. In all, we still thank God for life and pray that He gives me ideas on how to cope with this new development.”

However, unlike the cries and complaints of other women, Veronica Okeme seems to have seized up the challenges and profferea solution for herself. She explained that she was able to devise a means of keeping track and in touch with her customers. As such, she was able to bring her customers along to the new location.

She said: “Business is dynamic and when you notice that the old pattern of waiting for customerstocomefor shoppingisnotworking, you just have to call them over. I have a good relationship with anyone who has patronized me before. I go as far as collecting their phone numbers to check on them once in a while. “So, when we relocated to this place, patronage was poor and I suffered this for months. I then decided to put a call across to them, introducing them to the new location.

I followed this process up and it’s been awesome because the old clients are the ones bringing new clients to me. The shops here are spacious and that allows me to display my goods for better aesthetics because I sell fabrics. Personally, I’m okay with what I am getting in this new market.”

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