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Economy pushes young ladies to okrika pants, brassieres with high risk of infections

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Gone are the days when it was a pride for young ladies to troop boutiques to buy pants and brassieres.

The economy of the average Nigerian lady no longer supports that luxury.

Besides, several brands of new panties come with substandard elastics and fabrics that do not let the products last.

The alternative now appears to be used pants and brassieres, sold in heaps at roadside stalls and markets popularly known as bend-down boutiques.

Although some say the act is degrading to women’s fashion sense, there’s also an argument that fashion sense that does not consider quality and affordability, lacks real taste.

More for affordability, some women have even resorted to making a choice between panties and tights saying that both of them perform the same job of covering their private parts.

Adejobi Badejo, an undergraduate said she goes for okrika pants and gets them at Katangua market for far cheaper costs.

“The state of the economy is really dealing with I used to buy two dozens of  panties before but now, I have limited it to one dozen and they are not new but bend-down-select. A dozen of new cotton panties that were sold for N5,000 to N7,000  as of last December, have risen to N15,000 to N25,000. Even to match quality pants and brassiers are no go areas. I love wearing my undergarment in the same colors but now that I have resolved to buy okrika panties, I have forgotten all about that dress sense.

“This is what is trending for most young ladies and housewives now. The first day my friend and I visited Katangua to buy pants; we saw many women buying okrika panties in the market and were shocked at the high patronage.”

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Confirming women’s high patronage of okrika panties, Mrs Chinwe Mbafor, an okrika undergarment seller in Ikotun market said: “It is true that most ladies now prefer buying okrika panties. They have dropped their shame and embraced its use.

Before, I would sit for hours and make little sales from brassieres, tights and children’s panties. The low sales made me buy less quantity of okrika ladies’ pants.

“Sometimes any odd occurrence in any environment favours some people. Now the so-called okrika panties are bought with speed. Not only panties but other used products as the prices of brand new ones are increasing every day.

“Even the prices of some okrika products are also increasing due to the high demand.”

On his part, a pharmacist known as Doctor Chinedu, said he noticed that his female friends and some other ladies no longer wear panties. He pointed out that most young ladies, including married women, now wear tights without panties.

He said most of his female friends said tights are better options when compared to pants as most of the new pants being produced are very expensive and get torn easily and don’t last long unlike tights. However, he noted that some prefer using tights due to the comfort they derive from it.

“I see most of my female friends putting on tights without panties, even the ones that are married. Before, these tights were undergarments worn under gowns or skirts. But now, these women said due to the increase in the prices of panties which don’t last long, they prefer to go pantless and wear tights.

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“A male friend of mine who sells okrika clothes disclosed to me that ladies, even his girlfriend, now go for okrika decided to start buying okrika briefs. The so-called new ones don’t last long anymore.”

Mr. Matthew Oluwaseyi, a laboratory Technician explained that despite their ability to last long and being cheap, wearing okrika pants without proper washing and ironing, can cause infections.

“As a laboratory technician, I have come in contact with various infections contracted by wearing okrika undergarments, especially pants.

“It is unhygienic for a woman to put on Okrika pants because some of these pants were worn by infected patients who might have disposed of them without proper washing. So if a new buyer does not  wash and iron them well, they could contract bacterial and fungal infections such as genital warts, vaginal and skin candidiasis, scabies, tinea curis, gonorrhoea, syphilis, and even Hepatitis A, B and C.” (Vanguard)

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Concrete Roads: Cement price to hit N9,000, manufacturers warn

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The Cement Producers Association of Nigeria has warned that the ongoing plan of the federal government to introduce concrete roads will raise the price of cement to N9, 000 per bag from the current price of N5, 000.

It also called on the current administration to permanently address the perennial cement price hike problem by facilitating larger participation in the cement industry, noting that Nigerians have no business buying cement for more than N5, 600 per bag.

The association, in a statement jointly signed by the National Chairman, Prince David Iweta and National Secretary Chief Reagan Ufomba, on Sunday, commended the works Minister’s position on cement-made roads but warned of dire consequences, if the supply end is not addressed properly.

As a solution, the cement producers urged the government to lay more emphasis on road design that allows both cement technology and asphalt pavement to run concurrently and provide ample time for a smooth transition that allows contractors to invest in commensurate and requisite equipment and retooling.

The statement read, “Our findings from various parts of the country show that cement sells for as high as N6000 per bag in the rainy season. Our prediction is that it will sell for over N9,000 per bag in the dry season, especially with the pronouncement of the Honourable Minister of Works on cement technology and the marching order on housing by Mr President if the government does not take proactive steps.

“While we commend the Honourable Minister’s position on cement-made roads, we warn of the dire consequences if the supply end is not properly addressed. In fact, it would amount to dereliction of duty not to intervene. And the time is now. To do otherwise is to continue in a worsening pipe dream that prices would suddenly drop on this essential input that will continue to drain the purse of Nigerians, render them homeless, encourage chaos between demand and supply, and worsen the infrastructure deficit it sets out to cure, and lead to an unprecedented price hike.

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“We also call on the Honourable Minister of Works to lay more emphasis on the design criteria of roads that allow both cement technology and Asphalt pavement to run concurrently, in turn, will provide ample time for a smooth transition that allows contractors to invest in commensurate and requisite equipment and retooling. We must also as a nation regulate static and dynamic load traffic by introducing weighbridges at access points on our highways. Working in sync with contractors, and allied Ministries of Trade and Investment, Transport, Environment and Finance on realistic policy on cement is most desirable at this critical time.”

The association further requested the government to conclude the backward integration policy of the late Yar’adua administration that was already bringing availability and affordability of cement in the country.

It added, “There has been so much comment on cement and cement pricing of late. What our nation needs is cement that is available and affordable. And this cannot be achieved by mere wishes, faulty policies and programmes, without breaking the chain of monopoly and favouritisms. Nigerians are tired of waiting for a downturn in the price of cement and for decent and affordable housing.

“We call on the Tinubu government to permanently solve this perennial cement price hike problem by expanding participation in the sector with companies who have verifiable evidence of local investment, including greenfield licenses and quarrying. As a matter of fact, we call on the government to more specifically conclude the backward integration policy of the late Yar’adua administration which was already bearing availability and affordability fruits.

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“As patriots, it is our view that the government reintroduces backward integration policy and the conclusion of old ones. Consequently, the government cannot be seen to approbate and reprobate by deregulating issues of petroleum products and foreign exchange on one hand and regulating on pricing of cement, essential goods and services on another. There is a need for policy harmonisation and convergence between fiscal and monetary policies.

“Finally, we call on the government to urgently intervene in the foreign exchange market, intervene in restructuring bad loans of manufacturers, and review palliative modules. The cry for elusive FDI will be drastically reduced if all manufacturing concerns are revived. The government must be decisive in the kind of economic policies it intends to foist on the people,” the statement concluded.

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Fake News: Dangote Group denies Cement price slash 

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Aliko Dangote and Dangote Cement

Dangote Group has described as fake the reports circulating online that it would reduce the price of cement per 50 kilogramme from N5,500 to N2,700.

Anthony Chiejine, Spokesperson for Dangote Group described the claim as fake news on Monday.

His reaction comes amid speculation that the Dangote group crashed the cement price by 50 per cent with effect from October 1st, 2023.

Earlier, Bahir Ahmad, media aide to former president Muhammadu Buhari, had commented that the report was fake.

Ahmad made this known through his official X handle on Sunday.
“The Dangote Group has denied the trending reports that it has reduced the price of cement from N5,500 to N2,700 effective October 1st”, 
he wrote.

The price of a 50kg bag of cement is sold between N4,600 to N6,000 in Lagos, Ogun, Ondo and Abuja.

However, barely two weeks ago, BUA Cement had hinted at plans to reduce the price of a 50kg bag of cement to between N3,000 and N3,500.

BUA chairman, Abdul Samad Rabiu disclosed this after meeting with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

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Naira crashes to all-time low at exchange market

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The exchange rate between the naira and the dollar plunged to a record low N983/$1 at the black market based on quotes received by Nairametrics on Wednesday as currency traders said there no dollar to sell

This represents a 2.93% drop when compared with the N955/$1 that it traded the previous day as the foreign exchange crisis in the country continues unabated.

This also shows a substantial depreciation from the N950/$1 that it traded last week as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) appears to be still struggling to stabilize the foreign exchange market despite its various policy pronouncements.

Recall that in mid-August, the dollar was quoted as low as N955/$1, stoking fears among investors that the exchange rate might plummet to N1000/$1.

This, however, appreciated at some point to N840/$1 after the apex bank warned speculators about potential major losses due to the policies it hopes to introduce.

In related news, trading on the official I&E window on September 20 witnessed the exchange rate between the naira and the dollar settling at N776.60/$1, a drop from N773.98/$1 the previous day.

The intra-day high soared to N799.9/$1, whereas the intra-day low dipped to N720/$1.

Data from FMDQ Securities Exchange, a platform that oversees official FX trading in Nigeria, shows that a total of $71.01 million was traded at the I & E window, Nigeria’s official trading window.

2023 Currency tracking platform AbokiFX also captured the exchange rate trades at N980/$1 on Wednesday. We are out of business
A top official of the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) who did not want to be mentioned said that the forex market is currently in disarray as most of the licensed operators do not have dollars to sell and as such out of business.

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He said, ‘’The market has scattered, the rate is N983/$1.

Most of the licensed bureau de change operators do not even have dollars to sell, we are out of business.

“I think the liquidity is in the so-called parallel market. Its all about scarcity and when there is scarcity, it gives rise to parallel or black market.’’

He said that if there is dollar available to sell or buy, he might not even do the transaction because he does not know what to do, adding that he is confused as a licensed bureau de change operator.

Going further, he said, ‘’You see this market operates on different level, we have started seeing Binance, we are now seeing Dubai rate, we are now seeing local parallel market rate, so it depends on the level you are.’’

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