The BBC anchor, Martin Patience, probes into the remains of what use to be Nigeria’s glorious days of industrialization. Describing the Gaskiya textile plant in Kano as one of many past booming factories/industries (textile) in Nigeria that were neglected and abandoned- leaving thousands of its work force without a job – only for crude oil marathon.
Nigeria, haunted by high unemployment and a sinking oil-dependent economy, is pushing to diversify its economy with a “Made-in-Nigeria campaign”. The BBC’s Martin Patience went to the northern city of Kano to see what difference it will make.
Read her report:
“Cobwebs brushed against my face and dust covered my shoes as I was taken around the Gaskiya textile plant, a ghost factory since its closure in 2005. Kano used to be one of Africa’s great commercial hubs. The former emirate was famed for its fabrics drawing merchants from across the Sahara. But in recent decades, the winds of global trade have blown through the city, leaving devastation in their wake.
“Gaskiya employed 5,000 people who churned out African prints and school and military uniforms until it shut. In the face of competition from China, large-scale smuggling and high production costs, dozens of factories were forced to close their doors and tens of thousands of workers lost their jobs.
“In one section of the factory stood row upon row of weaving looms – more than a hundred in total. They took up a floor the size of a football pitch. A former worker, who did not want to be named, showed me around the building and told me the dilapidation left him feeling devastated.
“When I was working here my country had a future, it had hope. I’m a product of this factory, I got an education here, I got married here and my children are from here.”
“I ask him whether he thinks his children could ever work here.
“Things will need to change dramatically,” he told me, “that is what we are praying for.”
“Our voices echoed through a plant where the once thunderous machinery was now silent. The roof was ripped off and the machinery – exposed to the elements – was left rusting in the sun. The decaying factory was a poignant symbol of how far the once mighty textile industry in Kano has fallen.”