More than 30,000 textile dyers and traders in Nigeria could lose their jobs if the country continues to import and sell Chinese fabrics.
That’s according to Yakubu Lawal Ishaq, secretary of the Masu Rini Progressive Association, which staged a peaceful protest Tuesday in the northern city of Kano, said to be one of Africa’s largest textile markets, against the importation of Chinese textiles.
Thousands of local dyers marched to the palace of Kano’s emir, Mallam Muhammadu Sanusi, urging the monarch as well as the government to intervene in what they described as unfair trading behavior, and to enforce the Nigerian Enterprise Promotion Act and International Trade Policy.
“Chinese activities have compromised the potential of local dyers in the textile industry,” stated Bashir Dauda Aliyu Dawakin Kudu, chairman of the Local Dyers Association, as reported by local media outlets. “We source chemicals from Chinese businessmen but they have transformed from chief suppliers of chemicals to full-time involvement in the dye industry.”
Emir Sanusi responded, “It is unfortunate that we don’t have enabling laws that protect local entrepreneurs. And where we have them, they are not implemented,” and cautioned the demonstrators to distance themselves from any action that could potentially trigger violence in Nigeria.
Last week, the Nigeria Customs Service arrested four Chinese nationals for allegedly smuggling textiles into Kano. Tuesday’s protests came less than 24 hours after Emir Sanusi hosted Gu Xiaojie, the Chinese ambassador, asking him to encourage more investment in the country.