Friday, 4 March 2016

The Famous Adire Merchants of Abeokuta (Concluding part)

She lamented, however, that Custom officials harass them on the road and extort money from them. "A consignment of goods just came in a few days ago that was delayed for several days by customs officials. They only released it when N1 million was paid to them. Several consignments have been seized in the past and nothing was done about them. Why should we be harassed just for going to bring down goods from Kano? We need the federal government to look into this issue as it is affecting our business. We are just business people making honest and legitimate living. We also want government to resuscitate our moribund textiles industry like the United Textiles, Gaskiya Textile, Arewa Textiles etc so that we will not need to look outside the shores of the country to get materials. Even the candles we use in processing the Adire is imported from England. We also urge the state government to quickly finish the road construction at Kemta, so that our members that have been displaced can return to their stalls. God has blessed this country. It is only in this small Kemta enclave in Abeokuta that people come all the way from different parts of the world to buy Adire. So why don't we celebrate ourselves?"
Mrs Temilola Sadiq is one of the numerous traders at the market. She said she has been in the trade for over 17 years. "I was born into it. Initially I was not so involved in it. I was just soaking the fabrics for new to production. But now I am fully into it. When I started I was using a small shack at the roadside but over the years I have saved enough to have my own shop in the market. We are making sure that the trade does not die with us that is why we involve our kids in the day to day running of our businesses. Although I do not have a daughter, I have a son who I am training to take over from me."
Princess Mansurat Adunni also shares the same excitement. "I started over 17 years ago. My mother introduced me to it when I was young. The proceeds from the trade were used by our parents to train us. We are doing the same. My daughter follows me to work every day to learn the trade. We face challenges everyday but with God's grace we are surmounting them."
One of the products of the informal 'Adire making' school is young graduate, Folashade, who spoke to Sunday Trust. She said she has taken her mother's line of work when she could not get gainful employment after graduating from university.
"When I graduated I waited for like three years without a job. Then I decided to help out in the trade. This is what I have been doing since I was in primary school, so deciding to use it as means of making ends meet, was an easy decision for me. I have no regrets. If I get a white collar job today I will not abandon the trade. I even intend to pass it on to my kids when they come of age and show interest."
A customer, Mrs Adeko who came from Ondo town to buy the fabrics, told Sunday Trust that the Kemta market is a magnet for all lovers of quality fabrics. 'I came all the way from my base to buy materials here. Here you get the original. They have unique Kampala products you cannot get anywhere else. I also brought my faded clothes so that they can dye them for me with quality dye," she said.
*Culled from www.dailytrust.com.ng

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