Calabar – The Calabar River Beach Market is now a beehive of activities as parents buy used clothes, popularly known as Okirika, from the river bank for their children for the Christmas.
The prices of used clothes had increased because of its high demand.
The rush for the imported used clothes was not restricted to the poor because some rich parents were seen, scrambling for the materials.
A dealer, Mr Innocent Oko, said that his sales had increased tremendously in the last one week with some price increase.
Oko said, for instance, a T-shirt formerly sold for N300 is now sold for N400 while a short that earlier cost between N250 and N300 now costs N400 and above.
He said that some of the buyers were from Uyo in neighbouring Akwa Ibom and Aba in Abia.
“They are not only from Calabar as some are coming from Uyo and Aba,’’ Oko said.
Mrs Grace Odey, a public servant, said that she was there to buy some clothes for herself and her children because the prices were cheaper than the prices of new ones.
Odey said that high grade clothes could be found in the fairly used clothes, adding that “one can get seasoned clothes here, depending on the grades.
“Sometimes, if you go to the boutiques in town, you cannot get better clothes than the ones you get in this beach.
“Moreover, we civil servants have not been paid, so you cannot continue to wait for your salary when the celebration is just few days from now,’’ Odey said.
Miss Obioma Amadi, A Calabar-based hairdresser, said that the second-hand clothes help ladies to replenish their wardrobes.
“It provides an alternative for many of us to keep going, especially during Christmas festivities,’’ Amadi said.
According to her, clothes in the boutiques are very costly and out of the reach of most Nigerian ladies.
“Most of us cannot afford the prices of new ready-made clothes in Watt Market or boutiques in town, so, the beach bridges the gap.
“Most ladies you see in town come here to select materials and after such clothes have been treated by good dry-cleaners, they turn to new ones,’’ she said.
Some women came to the market as early as 6 a.m to scramble for high grade materials from fresh bales. (NAN)