Last minutes Christmas female shoppers now hide money in their undies to avoid being mugged at Balogun Market in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that female shoppers at the market have to device means of hiding their valuables from pickpockets who had invaded the market in large numbers.
One of the shoppers, Miss Lovelyn Shedrach, said: “I am always watchful, I go as far as sharing and hiding my money in different strategic places which includes my undies so my pocket won’t be picked.
“No one is to be trusted in this kind of market, especially a crowded one, everyone to me is a suspect.
“I don’t let people get too close to me in the market, even when they do, I’m always careful.”
Another shopper, Mrs Ukamaka Dike, also raised alarm of her purse being stolen which contained her phone, Identity card and money.
NAN reports that the woman was seen crying helplessly, shouting “my money ooh help me God! Where do I go from here?”
Ukamaka told NAN that after bargaining for some pairs of shoes and wanted to make payment, she discovered that her purse containing N85,000 and other valuables was nowhere to be found.
Mrs Veronica Bassey, who shops at the market regularly, said that pickpocketing was a usual occurrence especially during festive periods.
“For a market that is always crowded, especially during this season, one needs to be careful.
“I have been a victim of pickpocketing and that day I was stranded,’’ Bassey said.
Mr Adeyemi Tobi, a trader who sells bags, said that the market was a busy place where only the smart and vigilant can survive.
“It is not only buyers’ purses that are stolen, traders’ goods are also being stolen.
“For both buyers and sellers, one need to be vigilant in order to avoid loss of valuables,’’ he said.
Another trader, Mrs Stella Charles, who sells electrical gadgets, advised both sellers and buyers to keep their valuables safe so as avoid it being stolen or misplaced.
“I feel so sad for the woman, when she shouted at first. I knew something bad had happened.
“People can get waist bag as it is safer to put money and it is hard for it to be stolen once it is on one’s waist,’’ she said.