APART from serving as a popular bus terminus, Yaba has also come to be famous as a market destination for fairly used clothes and shoes.

In fact the place is popular for its bend down boutiques or Okirika section with traders ringing bells or shouting on top of their voices in order to attract the attention of customers who are mostly students of the University of Lagos, Akoka, aka UNILAG.

Right from the gate of this university to the various faculties, there are motor parks which are always besieged by an army of commuting students and others either coming to or leaving  the campus.

A ride from the university gate to the various faculties always attract a token of N20 while that of Yaba Bus-stop to the main campus starts from N70 and above, depending on the patronage.

Homeward bound students: When will they return to the campuses?

Not only this, the campus is always a beehive of activities that thrive on and sustain  such businesses as photocopying and typing of documents, restaurant, cybercafé, call centre, tea , supermarket, fruits and suya joints, to mention a few.

At the end of every business day, many of these traders always have reason to count their blessings, thanks to the high patronage they usually enjoy from these students.

However, for the past three months, some of these businesses have suffered little or no patronage as a result of the face-off between the Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU) and the Federal Government which started in the month of June.

ASUU embarked on a nationwide industrial action to press home its demand that the agreement it earlier  reached with the Federal Government be implemented to the letter.

When Vanguard Metro visited the campus on Thursday, most of the business operators were more or less in mourning as they  counted their losses since the strike began.

At Yaba, it was also lamentation galore as some of the traders selling Lakra tops, jeans skirts, trousers and shoes complained that their businesses have suffered low patronage in the past three months.

At the various motor parks of the university, motorists told this reporter that it is no longer business as usual while those who engage in typing and photocopying, restaurant, cybercafé and the likes also lamented low patronage.

“See, many of us only hang around here thinking the strike could be called off at any time. This has been our daily routine for the past three months and the strike never ends,” lamented Mrs. Popoola Taiwo.

A taxi driver who simply gave his name as ‘Omo ga’ said: “Even though the fare is only N20, I know how much I make on daily basis but since the strike started I have been finding it difficult to feed.

I broke into tears yesterday when my children reminded me of their school fees; that was when I realised the holiday will soon be over. How would I pay for the four of them since I have not made something tangible since June,” said Adelani Tayo.

“I thought it was a joke and I seized the opportunity to travel to the village for some time thinking they would soon resolve the issue. I came back since July and I nearly cried when I saw the various bills piling up at home.

My husband is a retired civil servant and I am the one footing the bills. Photocopying business is mainly for students and since they are not in school, life has never been the same in my family,” said a woman who refused to disclose her name.

At Yaba, the usual logjam at the centre of this bus-stop has reduced.  “I sell Lakra tops and as you know, most of my customers are students. This strike is not easy O. When you mention strike, most people always think students or ASUU are the ones who suffer most.

What about those of us who depend on their patronage for our goods and services? Who should we turn to in the time of need, especially when they refuse to call off the strike?” queried Sandra helplessly.

“I took my bus to a bus-stop to work for some time before the strike would end but to my surprise, they did not allow me to carry passengers; they asked me to come and register with some amount of money which I do not have ,” a commercial bus driver said with indignation.

‘’I am back home, I shall resume in the campus anytime the strike ends, I have moved my business to my house. Although patronage is not much but I cannot kill myself,’‘ said a fruit seller, Mogaji Asisa.


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