overall trend towards economic growth in Nigeria masks the fact that
millions have been forced into low-wage jobs in the once industrial
north, trade experts warn.
“In the last 15 years more than
three million jobs have been directly and indirectly lost in Kano alone
with the collapse of more than two-thirds of our industries,” said
Ahmed Rabiu, deputy president of the Kano Chamber of Commerce and
“This has caused a lot of socio-economic hardship to
the laid-off factory workers and the multiplier effect on the society
The decline is blamed in part on structural
adjustment programmes in the 1980s which involved the devaluation of
the local currency and weakened factories’ ability to buy raw materials
and machinery. The country’s shoddy power network compounded problems.
More recently an influx of cheaply, more efficiently produced goods
from Asia has left many factories untenable.
liberalisation, our country was flooded with cheaply produced goods
from Asia where interest rates is not more than 5 percent which are
usually smuggled and our factories became disadvantaged because they
could not compete and they were forced to close down”, Ali Madugu, head
of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria said.
Many laid-off workers have turned to driving commercial moped taxis known as ‘achaba’ to earn a living.
is hard to find because the industries have closed and we are left with
no option but to look for other alternatives to survive”, confirmed
Dahiru Kabiru, a laid-off factory worker now turned commercial
Accidents are some common that a whole ward is
exclusively reserved for victims of achaba accidents in the city’s
general hospital. Many of those who could not afford a moped turned to
begging and sending their children out on the streets.
proliferation of child hawkers on the streets and its attendant
negative implication is a direct consequence of the closure of the
industries in the city”, a social worker Musa Ahmed said.
the moment there is a widespread hopelessness among the people which
has led to social confusion and commotion”, Rabiu of the Chamber of