The Menace that is Market Men

Florence Uwaeme

You may be wondering what this is about because it is definitely not a popular cliché. A Market Man should be a man who conducts his daily business in the open market peacefully without breaking the law. Now, ask yourself this question, do these men conduct their daily businesses peacefully without infringement on the fundamental human rights of others.

The answer to the question above is a big fat “NO.” A visit to an open market will help reshape your views. Some Market Men do not only go to the market because of their daily businesses they also go there because of some sport. This sport focuses on female folks. These Market Men amuse themselves with different female body shapes that walk past their shops. They try to outdo themselves by groping every female’s behind, holding female customers wrist against their wish and saying profane words to these female buyers without any sort of provocation.

Woe betides you as a female and you dare try to prevent them from groping at you. The monster in them will be unleashed. You will be called “Ashawo,” “okuko igbo,” “mgbeke.” These men that have mothers, wives, sisters and daughters will call you unprintable names. They will ask you if you are Queen Elizabeth that should not be touched. Threaten to beat you up. Ask you if you will be the one to marry yourself? Then warn you to remain at home if you wish not to be touched.

To this crop of men, a female should be happy they touched her indiscriminately. This they do with impunity. It is their right to grope at a female’s behind, they say.

The sad news is that when you report these anomalies to the police, you will be scolded for wasting their time with trivial issues. I have had several ugly experiences in the open market that I have resolved to self-defence.

This particular incident happened in Ogbete main market, Enugu.

I was going about my business in the market. While I approached a certain shop, I noticed a man in his early forties or thereabout, sprang to his feet like a predator whose prey is coming to offer itself as a burnt offering. Grinning from ear to ear, whispered to his friend’s ear-as they burst out with laughter.

There and then, I knew I was in for a little show. As I made to walk past their shop, the predator grabbed me on my wrist. The grip was so tight that it left marks on my wrist. His friend who has been watching us with great satisfaction choked himself with laughter.

I tried to persuade him to let me go and continue with my shopping. He refused to be reasonable. I became angry, balanced my feet properly like a kickboxer, landed him a punch on his left eye. He staggered, screamed and left my wrist all at the same time.

With shock in his friend’s eyes, I walked away, finished my shopping and went home.
These are the realities in our open markets.

I think the Association of traders, should, as a matter of urgency do something about this menace.
Females are tired of being harassed in our markets.