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Food sellers count losses as offices, schools remain closed in Nasarawa

As Nasarawa State workers continue their strike, food vendors in schools and offices have continued to suffer low patronage in Lafia, Keffi, Akwanga, Nasarawa and other major towns.

Some of them with selling points in government ministries, departments and agencies, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday, said that the sales had been “extremely low” since the workers shut down the state on May 12.

NAN found that while some had totally stopped cooking, the few still willing to cook have had to contend with massive leftovers.

Agnes Ago, who sells food at the state secretariat in Lafia, said that only casual workers like security men, NYSC members and some management staff visit the offices “once in a while”.

“I hardly sell up to half of the little quantity I bring for sell. I used to cook a lot and sell off everything before the close of work.

“In the past, I cooked and sold half of a 50kg bag of rice every day. Because of the strike, I reduced that quantity to a quarter, but I end up with lots of leftovers every day,” she lamented.

Ms. Ago said that she would soon suspend further sales until the workers resumed.

Another vendor, Halima Ali, who spoke in the same vein, appealed to government and the workers to settle their differences so that the economic life of the state would bounce back to life.

“Most of the customers are the workers. Some of them sometimes buy on credit and settle at the end of the month, but they have all disappeared owing to the strike.

“At first, I merely reduced the quantity of food brought to the market, but I have suspended every cooking activity and only sell snacks and other edible items that are not easily perishable,” she said.

Ms. Ali similarly urged the workers to seek common grounds of agreement with the government so that life will return to normal.

NAN correspondents, who visited some state ministries and agencies, observed that restaurants and eateries around the offices were locked, with only security men around the vicinity.

Our reporters also observed that the offices were totally deserted, in total compliance with the strike.

The workers commenced an indefinite strike action on May 12, 2017 to press home their demands for better working conditions.

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