It is no longer business as usual at the popular Ganaja junction labourers market in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, as patronage continues to shrink due to cash crunch that has bedevilled economic activities in the state.
The Ganaja labourers market has, over the years, been the major labour market for both men and women, who do menial jobs for both private individuals and government.
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A check at the market by our North Central Trust correspondent showed that the artisans are complaining over low patronage from individuals and corporate organisations engaged in construction has dropped.
Malam Tukur Ibrahim, who spoke to our correspondent, lamented that many of his colleagues have left Lokoja to other places in search of greener pastures.
“We can come here for a week without getting a job unlike in the past when we had choices to make between government’s and individuals’ offers at good prices”, he said.
When our correspondent visited the market around 10.am on Wednesday, Malam Tukur said he and those around have not had their breakfast because they had no money.
He said government was not building structures and that individuals, who should have served as alternative, have no resources to embark on construction works in the state.
Tukur, who was surrounded by his colleagues, said now, on sighting any prospective employer, “we cluster around him begging him to hire our services even at give-away prices so that we have something to feed for the day”.
Madam Halima Oyiza, another artisan, said she has been doing the work to assist her husband who was thrown out of the job some years ago.
She recalled some years back when there were a lot projects carried out by the state government, many of them had a choice of what to do.
“But today all that is gone and we that are not civil servants have to groan bitterly because our source of livelihood is being eroded as neither government nor individuals is embarking on instruction works,” she said.