Bricklayers have decried the loss of jobs as people abandoned building construction following the exorbitant cost of cement in Kebbi State.
Bricklayers, that hitherto handled two to three house projects at a time, hardly get one now as they stay jobless.
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Shafiu Dangwamma told Caliphate Trust that he had been in the business of bricklaying for the past 15 years, adding that as he grew older in the profession, he enjoyed high patronage from clients across the state.
According to him, prior to this time, he handled about five to seven projects at a time, with about 20 labourers under him.
He said patronage for their services began to drop early last year, when COVID-19 hit the global economy as construction jobs within the period dropped by about 50 percent in the state.
Dangwamma further said that bricklaying profession further engulfed into crisis when the #EndSARS protest broke out, which further hindered movement of goods and services from Lagos to northern part of the country, which caused the scarcity of the cement.
He explained that since then, construction work, particularly building of houses, started dropping and that now, many housing projects are at a standstill.
The bricklayer appealed to government to come to their aid by giving them some interventions that would uplift them as many of them cannot send their children to school or pay their rent.
Sani Ibrahim, who sells cement in the state capital, Birnin Kebbi, said the prices of cement started shooting up when supply became epileptic, which was made worst during the #EndSARS protests as most dealers stopped receiving consignment.
Similarly, he added, there was a drop in supply from neighbouring Sokoto cement company, although he could not give a reason for that.
“Cement patronage significantly dropped following the high cost of cement. In the past, we sold a trailer load in three to four days but now it takes much longer. A bag of cement now costs between N3800 and N4000.”