Food is a necessity for mankind and Lagos is known for its availability of roadside food. When on the go, snacks and carbonated drinks come in handy, but for the main course, a dash into any of the local restaurants or Buka joints popularly known as “Mama Put” for a plate of affordable meals is recommended.
Roadside or street food is the kind of food you can get at your fingertips. It is ready-to-eat food, sold in a street or other public places, such as a shop or a market, by a hawker or vendor often from a portable food booth, food cart or food truck. People from all strata of the society eat from this “Mama Puts” littered all around the metropolis.
Happenings Media caught up with Iya Indomie, one of the food sellers who operates in Victoria Island, Lagos.
What’s your everyday life like?
I start my day as early as 3:00 am. I wake up to start preparing food that I would be selling for the day. I get here by 6:00 am, set up shop and start attending to my customers till 6:00 pm when I close for the day.
How long have you been in the business of food selling?
I have been in this business for a long time. I think it’s close to ten years now.
How lucrative is this business?
I can’t say for others o but for me, I make daily profit though it’s irregular but at least I make some gains at the end of each day.
How much do you make in a day?
(Laughing) I cannot disclose that but as I said earlier, I am comfortable with what I make. At least, I can take care of my family needs and do some other things.
What kind of people patronize you?
I have customers of all kinds from corporate individuals to labourers, security men and job seekers. I also deliver to their offices whenever they are too busy to come eat here.
What kind of food do you sell?
I sell all kinds like rice, beans, indomie noodles, plantain, eba, fufu, semo with vegetable and Egusi.
When you have so many customers, how do you handle them?
I try to handle them one after the other on a first come first serve basis and I have a girl who assists me, too. This our business requires one to be agile and smart, otherwise you may make mistakes in calculating people’s balance and would run at a loss.
What challenges do you face in your business?
Some customers eat and they don’t pay, especially when the month has not ended. The daily increase in price of foodstuff and the threat of being sent parking from this space. Most times, we get harassed by members of the state task force.
How do you handle competition from other food vendors?
Of course, I am a good cook. My food is sweet and affordable and I have my loyal customers. I do not worry about competition.
If you had the opportunity to switch jobs, which job would you switch too?
My brother, no be Nigeria we dey? Which job person wan find? This one that I am doing pays me. God has been kind.
What would you want government to do for you?
First of all, the cost of purchasing food increases every day ,so government should help us reduce the tariff on food items. Secondly, members of the task force should stop harassing us and the government should reduce the tax leveled on us to pay.
How do you relax?
I relax only on weekends and public holidays. I watch movies, listen to news, music and sleep.
Photos by Chidinma Okere