The harmattan season can be very unbearable for many because of the harsh dryness, dust, cold and wind that come with it. The weather requires one to be properly dressed to avoid the consequences of the weather. In this report, Daily Trust explores the increased patronage second-hand cloth dealers receive following the harmattan season.
Jos, the Plateau State capital, is known for its severe cold weather, as it happens to be the coldest city in the nation. This cold is at its peak during the harmattan season, and it is often associated with dust, wind, haze and expanded atmospheric dryness. This mostly occur between November and February/March.
During this period, besides the cold, there is also dryness of the body/skin, painful cracks on some persons’ lips and on the heels, among other discomforts. Some persons constantly get under the weather at this time.
Again, the common sicknesses associated with the weather are cough/sneezing, light fever, coldness in the body, while asthmatic patients are often threatened more during this period due to the dust which often intensifies their condition.
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In Jos, where the cold weather/harmattan is known to be the severest in the country, the case is uniquely different. The weather is complemented by the natural formations of rocks, hills, waterfalls and other splendid sceneries across Jos and Plateau in general.
Jos temperature fluctuates between 10 and 20 degrees Celsius during the harmattan, and sometimes lower. This sometimes make people to freeze in their rooms, with deaths recorded from time to time.
Yet, people in Jos are proud of the weather, regardless of its cold impact and other associated health issues. Jos people – residents and natives alike, are known to always defend the weather and acknowledge how they enjoy it at all times and season.
Our correspondent spoke with several fairly used clothes sellers in Jos and they acknowledged making more sales during the harmattan season
One of the clothes sellers in Terminus Market, Mukhtar Abubabar, said sales have actually increased since the commencement of the harmattan as people patronize them a lot now than during the heat or rainy season.
Mukhtar, who sells mostly joggers/tracksuits, said he buys his wears from Katako market in Jos and makes about N10,000 daily, with a profit of between N1,000 and N1,500.
He said he sells the clothings from N800 to slightly above N1,000, and that despite the challenge of lack of money and economic hardship in the society, he still happens to make considerable sales.
Another seller, Yahaya Umar, equally said sales have been tremendous and his customers are not only from Jos or Plateau State as the case might be, but cut across most northern parts of Nigeria, including Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Taraba, Borno, Nasarawa, among others.
Umar, who sells mufflers, sweaters, blankets, towels, foams, etc, said the cold has galvanized buyers towards patronizing them, adding that he also sends goods to some of his customers outside the state. He explained that they usually exchange numbers whenever such customers come around and whenever they make any demand, he will snap the available products and send to them through WhatsApp, and upon the selection of their choices, they send money to him and then he waybills the clothes to them.
The Vice Chairman of Fairly Used Clothes Sellers by Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) fence in Terminus Market, Tijani Ahmed Adam, said the clothes sellers have been making improved sales since the harmattan season started.
He lamented however that the cost of a bale of clothes has increased, pointing out that the bale which used to be about N70,000 is now between N120,000 and N150,000.
He however urged the people to endeavour to buy clothes that will cover them properly during this harmattan period so that they can protect themselves against cold and by extension its associative illnesses.
According to him, “the cold is still in its mild state, but it is advisable for people to buy now and keep even if they are not feeling the cold yet, as it will intensify towards the end of December/January. By that time, the price of harmattan protective wears would increase since prices of things are daily increasing, and alongside the intensifying weather.”
Among the harmattan clothings he advised people to buy are jackets, sweaters, joggers/tracksuits, jeans, mufflers, hand gloves, caps and socks.
A customer who patronizes these wears, Jessica Audu, said she buys them for herself and her children because the cold in Jos is always unpredictable and should not be taken for granted.
Mrs Audu, who resides in Zarmaganda area of Jos, also urged people to properly kit themselves against the emerging cold because since the rains were heavy this year, the attendant harmattan will also be severe and it would have dare consequences for those who are not properly kitted.
As the harmattan season sets in, in Kano, residents have started buying second hand clothings to face the challenge posed by the harsh weather.
One of the biggest markets in Kano State is Wambai Market, and is renowned for first grade second hand clothes at very cheap prices even for resellers. Other items can also be bought in this market.
Daily Trust Saturday visited Wambai Market to see how the harmattan season has led to increase in the patronage of second hand clothings.
Ismail Ahmad only sells caps used during the harmattan season. He walks round the market in search of buyers. He told our reporter that he only does the business during the harmattan period and he makes a lot out of it.
“I only venture into the business during this season and it is paying. I don’t have a shop but I can boast of selling more than some shop owners.
“I sell at least 80 to 100 caps everyday; making N28,000 to N35,000 as each cap costs N350,” he said.
Haruna Abdullahi, a shop owner at Wambai Market by IBB Street, said he sees at least 50 customers per day and makes more profit than he anticipates.
“You know, the state of the clothe determines the price; every cloth sells itself because they are of different quality and grade. Some are more expensive than others even when you see them packed together like this.
“Every day, I sell more than I expect because people are in need and they find what they want here. At least, 50 customers visit and I make profit more than I anticipate.”
Anas Nuhu sells mufflers, hand gloves, caps, socks and cardigans inside Wambai Market and he said despite the high cost of the goods, customers still patronise him.
“People need it at this time, so, they don’t have a choice. We make huge sales from socks as people patronise it a lot. You know, there’s a lot of dust this time around and people wear canvass and cover shoes, so, there’s the need to wear socks. Even those wearing open shoes and sandals wear socks this time,” he added.
Also, for Yusuf Jafar, who sells bed sheets and blankets, the level of patronage has increased.
Saifullahi Muhammad is a whole seller. He sells to dealers and small-scale traders. He said as the harmattan approaches, the market has witnessed increase in visitors from not only the state, but neighbouring states coming in to get both fairly used and new protective wears.
“We see approximately a minimum of 500 people every day coming in to get one thing or the other. We sell to dealers and also in pieces,” he added.
Residents spoken to on why they patronize the second-hand clothes said aside from the clothes being cheaper, they are more durable and of better quality that the brand new ones which are very expensive.