Night market is beginning to gain popularity among Abuja residents as many of those living in estates around the metropolis, who do not have markets in their neighbourhoods have found the Wuse makeshift Night Market handy. Uche Uduma writes
Night markets popularly known as Kasuwan dare in Hausa are roadside markets which operate in the evenings especially in the northern part of Nigeria. Kasuwan dare is generally for leisurely strolling, shopping and eating.
Night market is beginning to gain popularity among Abuja residents too as majority of residents in Abuja living in the metropolis, who do not have conventional markets in their areas, save for the supermarkets/shopping malls, have found the Wuse night market a convenient and popular alternative.
A visit to Wuse market, one of the most popular markets in the Federal Capital Territory is something else at night, portraying a picture different from what is seen during the day time operational hours.
The sellers take advantage of the walkways to display their wares – on the floor amid deafening shouts, songs and dramatic displays by the sellers who struggle to outdo each other in a bid to get the attention/patronage of passers-by who may be convinced to buy of their goods.
Normally, Wuse market opens at 7:00am and closes about 6:00pm; at which time a new market (illegal shift) springs up but outside the main market. The night market is also usually the hub for the sale of different commodities.
It brings together a collection of ready to use items such as second hand clothing, shoes, jewelries, fruits, tasty street snacks and delicacies such as bean-cakes (moi-moi), (okpa), peppered chicken, suya, soup and stew condiments other goods of all kinds which are sold at relatively cheap prices.
Due to the central location of the market in the Abuja metropolis and its strategic location as point of convergence for commuters and other workers transiting to their respective destinations after the day’s work give the night market its full hustling, bustling and bubbling outlook. The Large numbers of customers casually stop to take a look at some of the wares on display to take the picks that meets their expectation.
The Wuse night market is temporal as it appears at night and vanishes shortly after midnight; the vendors seldom retain the same spot for the display of their goods on daily basis. This makes it difficult for the buyers to return any defective items they bought during the previous night transaction.
LEADERSHIP SUNDAY investigations explain that the Wuse night market is growing bigger and gaining more popularity as most traders who could not afford the high cost of renting a shop in Wuse market which goes for as much as 300,000 per shop per annum are those who have resorted to displaying their wares outside the market in the evenings when the main market would have closed. The buyers too seem to have welcomed the kasuwan dare with open arms.
One of the buyers Kazeem Abdulahi a Metalogical Engineer while speaking with LEADERSHIP SUNDAY said he patronises the market because it affords him the opportunity to buy things that are not readily available where he lives.
According to him, “the night market can be a saviour at times; sometimes you may close too late from work to catch the regular day-time market. The estate I live in is a new estate and it neither has markets nor restaurants for the various residents to patronise. Whenever I close late and I know I won’t have the energy to start cooking late at night, when I get home. I simply buy already prepared food/snacks, so that I don’t sleep on an empty stomach”.
Chioma Umahi a civil servant seen trying out a second hand cloth at the Okirika spot of the market also revealed that she is a regular at the market. “I always like buying things here. Most times I don’t really plan to buy anything but as you are passing something might just catch your attention and you would what to buy it because it is usually cheap. In fact most of the beautiful dresses I wear to work which are often mistaken for ready made, are actually purchases from the Wuse night market”.
While Sandra Okeh simply said she only patronises the market because they sell their things cheap, “I always pass here in the evenings and most days I must see something that will catch my attention, it could be earrings or slippers or even a corporate trouser or even fruits.
One thing about the things they sell here is that they are really cheap. If you go inside Wuse market in the day, you can get a pair of slippers between N4,000 and N5,000. But when you come to the kasuwan dare, may be N1,000, because they don’t add so much money to their goods because they don’t pay for rent, so their price is always cheaper”.
Selling at the Wuse night market comes with its own challenges as the sellers battle daily withofficials of the Abuja environmental protection board as the AEPB visit the market most evenings to chase the vendors away. One of the sellers Chuma Ngoka narrated his experience with officials of the AEPB.
According to him, “I sell shoes here every evening, sometimes I loose my shoes whenever the AEPB officials come to chase us away that’s why am always on the look out when displaying my shoes here. I don’t bring out all my goods at the same time; I pack some in a bag so that it will be easy for me to run with.
I don’t really like it as I come here to sell every night and close late, but I don’t have enough money to rent a shop in the main market. It is not easy for me to come here everyday, moreso as I live at old karimo but I always come here before 5pm to sell when the main market is closing for the day”.
Despite several attempts by the Abuja Environmental Protection Board to rid Wuse market of illegal trading and hawking,the night market in Wuse has continued to thrive.