News / Africa

Used Clothing Kills Nigerian Textile Industry

In this photo taken June 18, 2012, people buy secondhand clothes at Katangua market in Lagos, Nigeria.
In this photo taken June 18, 2012, people buy secondhand clothes at Katangua market in Lagos, Nigeria.
Heather Murdock
In markets in northern Nigeria, some shoppers scoff at clothes made by Nigerian companies and prefer to buy second-hand clothes from the West.  The country's flailing textile industry says the trend is killing their chances of coming back to life. 

Nigerian companies make clothes but in your average market, the racks are filled with imports, often from the West, that have already been worn.  

This shopper, Nafiu Akilu Usman, is buying second-hand jeans at a market in Kaduna in northern Nigeria.  He says he wouldn’t buy Nigerian clothes, even if he had the money.

“Nigeria is not producing [quality] clothes, so that’s why I prefer that," he said.

Locals say the used clothes were originally charitable donations from abroad, meant to clothe the poor, but they have no readily available proof.  In fact, some say, the clothes do serve the poor with T-shirts for sale for as little as 32 cents.  A new shirt costs $10 at least.

The influx of clothes may have killed the textile industry, which was booming until the late 90s but now is near collapse.

“If you look at the textile industry in the north, virtually none of them is working.  And if they are working, they are working at a very minimal and skeletal level.  So they cannot be able to produce for the requirement of the people in the first place," said Awwalu Makarfi, deputy president of the Kaduna Chamber of Commerce.

“Made in Nigeria” clothes seemed doomed, he adds, because companies cannot make enough money to invest in modern equipment to compete.  Nigerian factories also have to pay for additional security to keep their workers safe in many volatile regions.  Beyond that, he says, electricity is unstable and often unavailable, costing anyone who wants to run a factory a fortune.
 
“Or you take the simple example of the energy and power.  Even before the collapse of the industry most of them were running 24 hours on [generator] sets," said Makarfi.
  
Most Nigerians live in dire poverty and at this point, he says, even industrialists who make clothes buy from abroad because the price difference leaves them no choice.

At the market in Kaduna, Ramatu Usman sorts through used T-shirts for her two children.  She says she knows buying foreign clothes is bad for the local economy.

“People go to buy these clothes because they see it’s cheaper and its more economical so thereby the industry keeps going down-keeps collapsing.  I have to laugh because it is so funny," she said. 

She has to laugh, she says, because with rampant unemployment, idle young men killing and dying and hungry children in her town, if she didn’t laugh, she would cry.

Ibrahima Yakubu contributed to this report from Kaduna, Nigeria.

You May Like

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960s Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More