News / Africa

Once Flourishing Textile Industry Flounders in Nigeria

Once Flourishing, Nigeria’s Textile Industry Floundersi
|| 0:00:00
...  
🔇
X
March 05, 2014 7:52 PM
Nigeria's once-flourishing textile industry collapsed years ago and factories are decaying from lack of use. Some former workers say cheap clothes from China caused the collapse but others blame mismanagement and a lack of government support. Heather Murdock reports from Kaduna.
Heather Murdock
Nigeria's once-flourishing textile industry collapsed years ago and abandoned factories are decaying from lack of use. Some former workers blame cheap clothes from China for the collapse but others blame mismanagement and a lack of government support.  

When former textile workers recently toured their old factory for the first time in a decade decayed machines and bits of cloth and debris littered what used to be one of the largest factories in Nigeria.

“Here in Kaduna there’s not any other jobs that these people are doing," said Wardem Simdik, chairman of the Coalition of Closed Unpaid Textile Workers in Kaduna. "The only job we are doing is okada job, those people who are riding motorcycles here and there. And some of them got [in] accident[s] and died.”

Most of the clothes for sale in Nigeria are imported from China. Industry leaders say their low cost helped drive the textile factories out of business. But they stress that corruption, mismanagement and lack of resources are equally to blame for the industry's collapse. 

Umar Mohammad, former deputy-secretary of the Textiles Workers Union, says they warned the government for years that without help the factories would close.

“Then, at last, the industry started collapsing one by one until today [in] Kaduna, where only one or two textile industries are working,” he said.               

Former factory workers say about 9,000 of their ranks are waiting for back pay in Kaduna alone. And they insist that if factories re-open, the locally-made clothes will outsell the lower-cost imports.

“It was just mismanagement," said Joseph Gabriel, a former marketing manager. "When I was working, even our products, people were waiting to collect. People were rushing to buy. We were unable to meet up with the demands.”
 
Workers say the failed industry in Kaduna affected more than the economy.

A bridge separates Kaduna city, which is divided like the country as a whole with mostly Christians in the south and mostly Muslims in the north. Clashes between the two groups are common.

But former textile workers and their families say the violence is fueled by poverty that has intensified since the jobs disappeared. They say if people had enough money to survive, they wouldn’t fight on the streets over small sums of money.

“No help. Everybody’s going up and down," said Tina, the wife of a former textile worker. "Everybody has to mind their business. That’s why you’re going to go down to fight. To get something to eat.”

The former textile workers say they will continue to protest outside the old factories and lobby for back pay. But returning to their jobs, they say, is still the ultimate goal.

You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs