More than a year after Nigeria reported the first case of COVID-19 in the country, face mask sales continue to be brisk.
The demand of artisanal face masks is on the rise and has become a source of living for many tailors, especially seamstresses in Lagos State- the epicentre of the virus in Nigeria.
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Mrs. Tawakalitu Adegboyega, a mother of five children, is one of the seamstresses enjoying good patronage by the public.
“The selling of locally-made facemasks has been lucrative as I do make them with the government-approved material which is called scuba,” she said when Eko Trust correspondent visited her shop at Elegushi market, Ilasan Housing Estate, Eti-Osa.
She said that the buying of facemasks has become inevitable due to the order signed by President Muhammadu Buhari making use of face masks in public compulsory.
Adegboyega, whose husband is a driver with the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), added that the production of the face masks approved by the government was not cumbersome as it involves the use of “sewing machine, crafting scissors, and scuba material fabrics”.
Mrs. Tosin Temiadara said the production of face masks has created jobs for Nigerians, especially the youths, stressing that those who cannot sew, can buy from dealers and re-sell to end-users.
“Since the advent of COVID-19, I have engaged myself in the making of face masks and the business has been lucrative as retailers buy in bulk.
“Interested Nigerians who cannot sew the scuba type of facemasks do buy both the local and foreign-type from the wholesalers and re-sell them at the bus stop or in traffic for their daily living,” she said.
A visit to Dosunmu market by Eko Trust also revealed a boom in the sales of foreign-made face masks.
A dealer of foreign-type facemasks, Mr. Theodore Anaedum, said his business has witnessed a boom as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that there was a huge increase in the sale of face masks.
However, he said despite the increase in the sale of face masks, people are still walking around without one.
He said, “Baba Oja and Iya Oja should be mandated to monitor and report any violators of the COVID-19 precautionary measures in the market to the disciplinary authorities.
“Commercial vehicles, mosques and churches should be thoroughly monitored if truly we want to curb the spread of COVID-19 because most people buy and keep in their pockets”