Following the rising spate of violence in the Ikorodu Area of Lagos State and the call by community leaders on residents to procure whistles as alert technique during danger, there has been an upsurge in the demand for the device in the area.
The development has compelled many households in Ikorodu to own whistles, thereby creating an upsurge in the cost of the device from its usual N100 cost price to N200 or even N250, in some neighbourhoods.
Interviews with some traders in Ikorodu markets revealed that the call on residents to acquire whistles as a strategy against alleged cult killings in the area has created a new source of livelihood for petty traders and hawkers in the area. Mrs. Tifase Abiola, a caterer, who usually prepares snacks, said she was left her snacks business to join that of whistle selling, saying she makes more sales from the whistle business as against her original catering business.
“I was initially selling snacks, but when I saw that some traders were making swift sales from hawking whistles, I decided to join them. “I investigated where they sourced whistles wholesale and I swiftly joined them. I now hawk whistles in my neighbourhood,’’ she said. Also speaking, another trader, Deji Onigunye, who said he hitherto sold sports items such as football, boots and jerseys, but that the demand for whistles in his shop attracted him to the business.
“Whistles are not items we sell everyday, but in the last two weeks, the demand for the item around here has compelled me to invest in the business.’’ Another trader, Mrs. Funke Oniroayo, a widow, who was known for selling brooms in the market, said she now made better sales in her new line of business. “This whistle business has helped me to settle most of my debts and to also feed my fatherless children.
“Many people buy as many as three or four at once, and almost everyone that comes around is interested in buying them.’’ She expressed delight that the business had increased her patronage and popularity at the market. Mr. Muhammed Mutiu, a dealer in books, who suddenly switched to the whistle business, said he has been making brisk sales. “Initially, I was selling books on wholesale, but when I discovered that a lot of hawkers in the market were going to Tom Jones market in Lagos Island to buy whistles, I decided to join them.
“I went to the market, bought in wholesale and to my surprise, it has been very rewarding as people from the Ikorodu hinterlands also now come to the market to buy in bulk,’’ he said. Some Community Development Association (CDA) officials in Ikorodu have sensitised residents of the area on the need to have whistles, especially at night, to enable them to be able to alert their neighbours of any unusual developments.