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Food vendors and their day-to-day struggles

At about 4:30am, Mrs. Sarah Jones, popularly known as “Mama Jones”, wakes up to prepare for the business of the day. Her business is to…

At about 4:30am, Mrs. Sarah Jones, popularly known as “Mama Jones”, wakes up to prepare for the business of the day. Her business is to provide different kinds of meals for the various customers who patronize her food stand. By 6:30am, she is done with the cooking and ready to go to her regular spot in the business district of town.


She struggles to carry all the food warmers to the junction of her home at Dutse and then begins to negotiate with cab drivers until she finds one nice enough to take her to Utako for N600. By 7:30 she’s at Utako and ready to attend to the needs of her various customers who are already waiting. Mama Jones is just of the women who try to make ends meet, and food selling is her way.


Patronizing roadside food vendors is gradually becoming the way of life of a lot of people today. Food vendors, also known as “mama put” sell food like rice, beans, plantain, bread, noodles, akara, macaroni, salad, moin-moin, fish and meat. They generally stay in open spaces or sheds, just big enough to protect customers and the food sellers from sun and rain, and are mostly found in motor parks, markets, popular junctions, business areas and streets.


Blessing Nikre, a roadside food seller, said she wakes up at 5:00am to start her cooking for the day and then sets out to get a cab. “It is expensive. I take drop in the morning because of the food and when I close in the evening, I take ‘along’ back home.”


Blessing tells Daily Trust on Saturday that she finds it hard to save any money at the end of the month because everything is expensive and some of her customers even owe her. “Before, I used to pay N100 for transportation but now I spend N300 to get here and then the tax collectors collect N500 every day.” She went on to say that with all the expenses, she hardly takes any money home and that saving is out of it.


One of her customers, Abubakar Haruna, a driver, said “I used to buy food worth N200 but now I buy N80 worth. On days that I don’t have money, I beg her to give me N50 worth of food on credit.”


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