By Assumpta Odinaka
Traders and business centres operators at the University of Abuja have decried low patronage attendant on the on-going strike by the Academic Staff Union Universities (ASUU).
The strike, already in its fourth month has seen to the absence of students, the major patrons, from the university community.
Mr Abdulazeez Lawal, a business centre owner said the presence of students in the school premises strengthened his business and their absence a disadvantage.
“I knew very well how this business thrives in university communities; that is one of the major reasons why I came here. I used to make much more money than my colleagues operating the same business elsewhere.
“My business is no more doing well as before. Right now I am struggling with it,’’ he said
Lawal, who also sells stationeries, said it had been double jeopardy because it was students who were buying such stuffs.
“I used to sell about 60 per cent of my goods in a month before, but since the ASUU strike began, I have been struggling to sell 30 per cent of my stock,’’ he added.
Another business centre operator, Mr Emmanuel Onyema, corroborated Lawal’s position and said the strike had deleterious effects on his business also.
“The strike is affecting parents and students just as it is affecting business people. The presence of students in this area was an advantage to our businesses.
“Most times I open my shop from morning till night and end up not getting any money at all.
“If students were around, I get N10,000 and above daily,’’ he said.
Onyema said most of his patrons now are residents who were not buying much.’
He appealed to government to address the situation seriously as the strike was affecting the economy negatively.
“My appeal to the Federal Government is that, whatsoever has been the issue should be resolved for students to return to school.
“Since the ASUU strike started, I have been managing and I pray that the government will resolve the issue soon,’’ he said.
Mr Adam Salaudeen, a barber said he had been trying to cope with life as the number of his clients had depleted.
“This is my second shop. I close shops early these days as academic sessions had been halted and students are away from campus.
“When academic sessions were in full swing, I used to have clients from dawn to dusk,’’ he said.
Food vendors shared the same experience.
“This is the only business I do and the only place I have to operate, but as students are not here, I find it difficult to cook much food as I used to cook before.
“I am discouraged as I do not have any other business. I pray the issue is resolved soon,’’ Mrs Sandra Eze said.