LAST minute female shoppers at the busy Balogun Market in Lagos have resorted to hiding their purses in their underwear as the scourge of theft and pick-pocketing has become rife in the area in the run-up to Christmas.
Home to about 12m people, Lagos is Africa’s largest city and its busy Balogun market is always thriving. It is said to be one place where you can find anything in Nigeria and with Christmas looming, it has been witnessing non-stop activity over recent weeks as shoppers come from all over Nigeria to make purchases.
With this, however, comes a rise in crime and over the last week, female shoppers at the market have had to devise innovative means of hiding their valuables from pickpockets who have invaded the market in large numbers. Balogun has also attracted a large number of unemployed and disenfranchised youth looking for easy pickings.
One shopper 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, Ukamaka Dike, said that recently, her purse which contains her phone, identity card and money was stolen. She added that after bargaining for some pairs of shoes and wanting to make the payment, she discovered that her purse containing N85,000 and other valuables was nowhere to be found.