Dealers and buyers of used clothes, popularly known as “Okirika” on Tuesday attributed durability of the clothes, especially ladies’ underwear, for the increasing boom in the business.
Those who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the various selling points in Lagos said that no new pant, girdle, tights, bra, boxer-shot, singlet, among others, that could be compared to the used stuff.
The dealers told NAN that the Okirika business had come to stay because of the patronage from most Nigerians.
According to Uchechukwu Ndukwe, a bra dealer in Katanguwa market in Abule-Egba area of Lagos, in spite of the ban on used clothes in the country by the Federal Government, used clothes business has remained lucrative.
“I must be honest with you that in spite of the challenge of bringing the clothes into the country, a dealer is made when he or she opens a bale packed with almost new stuff¸ especially when they are ladies’ underwear.
“This stuff is known in the business as “First Grade” and they are the toast of most well-to-do in the society. Some of them deposit money in advance for such stuff,” Ndukwe said.
He said that Monday, Wednesday and Friday were the days the bales were opened.
Innocent Uyi, in Arena Shopping Complex in Oshodi, Lagos said he initially sold both new and used clothes but discontinued the selling of new ones because customers preferred the Okrika stuff because it was more durable.
Uyi said that some petty traders in the business, especially those from outside Lagos, deposit money in advance for “First-grade pants, bra and others to resell.”
“Most high-class customers prefer designer wears such as Next, Prada, Marks and Spencer and others.
“The demand for Okrika pant and girdle is very encouraging and my customers get value for their money.
“First Grade designer pant sells from N800 per pant, while bra costs N1,300 and above but it is only those that know the worth that goes for them.
“The clothes are no longer for the poor only, but also for those you think will not visit the market for such items.
“Everyone has something to take home with as little as N100,” he said
A customer, Precilia Briggs, told NAN at the Katanguwa market that she preferred the pants and would not feel ashamed buying it in the market.
Briggs said she no longer go for new bra and pants because they do not stand the test of time.
“As you can see, I picked the underwear because I am sure of getting good quality here which new ones cannot give me, and I don’t mind the price.
“Although the grade determines the price, N5,000 can give you three good pants and two bra,” she said.
She noted that the items were soaked and washed with disinfectant to prevent one from contracting a disease.
Ebele Uzochukwu, a middle-aged woman told NAN that because of her large breast, it had become difficult to get a new quality bra with small money.
According to Uzochukwu, with as little as N1,000, one can get a used bra that can stand the test of time.
“Due to my big breast, I bought new bras almost every month because they slack on time but for the used bra, the strap and cup are stronger and packs my breast better,” she said.
On the contrary, a girl who simply gave her name as Faith said she would never use Okrika underwear, as one could get infected through them.
Faith said she patronised new underwear and whenever they wear out she replaced them as it was advisable to change underwear regularly.
The undergraduate added that she bought wholesale from Idumota, Lagos where three pieces of pants were sold for N2,600.
“I believe that used clothes are condemned items and no longer good for us,” she said.
Meanwhile, a general medical practitioner, who did not want her name in print, advised those who patronise all brands of used items, particularly underwear to wash them thoroughly with a disinfectant.
She said that proper washing would get rid of bacteria, adding that such items should be exposed to the sun very well before use. (NAN)