By Aminat Mohammed
Mrs Justina or mama favor as her neighbors call her sometimes trek up to 5Km from Suleja, an FCT surburb to the popular Zuba fruit market to buy banana and oranges for sale.
Her family of four, comprising her husband and two children depend on sales from the day to eat. When business is good, sometimes she buys fruits worth N2000.
“I’m now the breadwinner of my family” she told this report in pidgin English.
When Justina left her hometown in Auchi Edo state about five years ago after her husband came from “Abuja” to ask for her hand in marriage, she had the dream of living in opulence, one of the incentives men from the city usually use to lure women from the villages to become their wives
At first when they arrived Suleja, an Abuja surburb, life was fair to her. Her husband had a job with construction giant, Julius Berger, so he was able to provide for her needs. But her enjoyment was eventually cut short in 2016, during a massive retrenchment, her husband lost his job. It was a turning point in their marriage.
Every attempt to get a new job proved abortive. According to statistics provided by Construction Workers union in Abuja, close to 500, 000 construction workers also lost their jobs during that same period. When all hope seemed lost, Justina had no choice but to start a trade
Her story is not different from that of Mama Aisha who hawks fuel on the busy Kubwa expressway or mama Emma who crushes stones in Suleja to support their families. All women have one thing in common, the loss of their husbands jobs have turned them to breadwinners.
Shockingly, the number of those women are increasing as their husbands keep loosing their jobs by the day
They all narrated nearly the same ordeal to this reporter. Women are being forced to take full responsibility of their families because their husband’s are jobless.
In an interview with several women who were seen hawking bread, fruits, and all manner of menial jobs to survive, our reporter observed that they are not widows but wifes of men who lost their jobs
Mama Aisha, the woman seen hawking fuel, told our reporter: “Having kids with a husband who is unemployed can be difficult. I cannot fold my arms. My kids need to be fed. So, I have to do something
“My family depend on my daily sales. It is very difficult running after vehicle on the highway, but what choices do I have? ”
Mrs Amanda, a female taxi driver who ply Berger to Lugbe route narrated her experience with TheNigerian. According to her, she has four kids and her husband is jobless. She works everyday between 9am to 6pm.
Women are not originally created to be breadwinners but helpmates to men but the economic situation have turn them from mothers, sisters, wives to breadwinners
Its really touching when a woman have to agree to marry a man, get pregnant and give birth to kids and later become the one saddled with responsibility of taking care of those kids and the husband as well.