Pants Sellers Laments; Says Female Customers No Longer Patronize Them

A visit to some markets in Benin, observer said  that respective underwear sections, which hitherto witnessed crowds of female customers, were no longer the beehive of activities they used to be.

A pants seller at the Oba Market, who only gave her name as Omoh, said things were no longer the way they used to be since the issue of pants theft began.
“I have not witnessed it, I only heard about it. We are still selling little by little, but not the way it was. I can tell you that the patronage has reduced drastically since the incident started,” she said.
Omoh, who sat in one corner of her shop waiting for customers, lamented that they were facing hard times as a result of the development.

At Ekiosa market, a trader, Onyebuchi Aleleiwu said, “I come to the market every day without selling anything. When there was patronage, I would sell above N100,000 a day, but these days I come here to keep vigil over my goods, The pants we sell at N200 here, we learnt that the young boys who steal them for ritual purpose will sell it at N300,000. I used to sell over 15 dozen a week, but now I can’t even boast of selling one dozen. Now, the issue has become bad market for us,’’

“Since they started stealing pants, young women only pass by our shops.”

“Late last year, I sold over 20 dozen in a week, but now, to sell a dozen has become a problem. This used to be our peak period as schools resumed. Parents and young women would buy many pants and keep till schools went on holidays, but now, schools have opened but no one is coming to buy from us. We usually get new stocks almost every week, but the one we bought over three weeks are still there,” she added.

Also speaking, Sivalnus Favour, 25, who also sells underwear, said they were hoping that things would improve in the market.

Ladies no longer patronise us. And when you give prices to the few that come around, they will simply tell you that they are no longer wearing pants, and walk away. It is affecting our business negatively,’’ she said.

 Lucky Okhaafo, 40, who sells at the New Benin market, said the development was also affecting the sale of tight wears, not only pants.

“I deal on wholesale, but the business has crashed due to the development and we now struggle to make little sales,’’ he said.

Another trader, Ogbewu Isilode lamented, “If I tell you that the development doesn’t affect us, I would be telling lies. This is 10am and I am yet to sell anything. In the past, by this time I must have sold over four dozen. But now, any young woman you call for patronage will tell you that they don’t wear pants anymore. The development is affecting our business, We trade on wholesale basis, but now, we don’t even see anybody who would even ask for one.”

Speaking on the reasons for the low patronage, Agatha Osas, a student said, “I only wear pants at home. I remove it while going out and put on jeans trousers. Since I heard that they forced some girl to remove their pants on the road at gunpoint, I have stopped wearing pants. But I put on tight wears while going out since it is pants they are interested in.

Helen Juliet, a 25-year-old stylist said she still went out with pants but mindful of walking in lonely streets at night.

“I can’t do without wearing pants. However, many young women have stopped wearing pants because of what has been happening. They were stealing from people’s homes, but when people became conscious of where they hanged their underwear, they resorted to taking it at gunpoint.

“After washing, I only hang my pants on Sundays when I would be at home. And I have to sit down and watch till they dry and I take them inside. I have to be very careful so that they will not be stolen for ritual purpose,’’ she said.

Also, a 20-year-old tailor who gave her name as Edith said, “I always put on trousers so that I can walk around without people noticing that I am not wearing pants. Some of us now go with charcoal because it is said to neutralise the potency of the ritual and would not have any effect on the victim. I have to go with charcoal whenever I am going out.’’

She lamented that the development is making them uncomfortable and called on security agents to do something about it.

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