Nigeria is blessed with a lot of creative and talented people. Everywhere you go there are people involved in trying to make one item or product from various materials they have.
Apart from getting an education with the hope of acquiring a job, there are people that opt for learning a trade or craft to make a living. There are also people who do both that is acquire an education and also learn a craft.
Nigeria is blessed with a lot of natural resources which are used by people in form of materials to create and produce a lot of items. Various materials are created from wood, timber, clothing such as chairs, art works, pottery works and lots more.
Across the country, there are villages and towns well known for a particular art and craft activity done by their people. To show the creative side of people in the country, this article takes a look at the cane village in Mende, Maryland Lagos.
CANE VILLAGE IN MENDE, MARYLAND LAGOS STATE
The cane village in Mende is located under the Ojota link bridge in Maryland Lagos. The area is a place where people use cane wood to make different types of furniture and household items like chairs, tables, baskets, flower vases and lots more. This makes the place the first point of call when people are looking for beautiful items and products to adorn their homes, offices and other areas.
As stated earlier, Nigeria is blessed with a lot of natural resources and one of such natural resources that are used a lot in the country is wood.
Wood is a very important material to people as it helps in providing a lot of comfort. Wood is used for a lot of activities and is used to produce a lot of products and items which solves a lot of problems for people and also provides some comfort for them. Either wood is used in its raw form or in its processed form it is quite valuable to people.
Wood is usually processed from timber trees and such processed wood is used by carpenters and furniture makers. The wood comes in various species and can be found in different locations like swampy areas and forests. One of the most important specie of wood in Nigeria is cane wood which can be found in areas along the coast line and riverine areas.
Cane wood is a very important wood as it has impacted the lives of many people positively. Cane wood has served as a source of lively hood for many people as it has helped in creating a lot of employment opportunities especially for the youths who have found ways of making nice pieces of furniture from cane wood.
This had led to well-crafted and beautifully made furniture from cane woods which are displayed at the cane village in Mende for people to see and buy. The cane woods used are mostly obtained from the following states including Delta, Rivers, Edo as well as Epe in Lagos State.
USES OF CANE WOOD
Cane wood is used in making furniture items
Cane woods are used in crafting
Cane woods are used in carving
Cane woods provide a measure of comfort for people when they make use of furniture like chairs and tables.
Cane woods also help in beautifying the environment through their well-crafted and lovely designs which helps making homes, offices and public places look nice.
TYPES OF CANE WOOD
There are different types of cane wood used to produce various items. They are known as normal cane wood and willow can wood.
The willow wood is heated using a gas burner so it can be bent into different sizes, shapes and design. After being heated, the willow cane wood is then processed to frame and construct items like chairs, flowers vases, baby cots and lots more.
There are instances and situations where the willow cane cannot be used to make frames for chairs, in such cases wood and cane are both used for making the frames of the chair. While the wood will be used to make and create the body as well as the frames of the chair and also tables, the canes be used to weave the chairs. Also both normal cane wood and willow cane wood can be used together in crafting or carving.
A major concern of the workers in the village is that their location which has not been approved by the Federal or State government. The workers in the village claim that since they could not find anywhere suitable to site their business they decided to stay under the bridge. They say staying under the bridge has caused a lot of problems for them including receiving a lot of harassment from people and have urged the government to come to their aid by providing them a permanent site.
They want the government to provide them with a site that is spacious enough and will be able to accommodate all the workers and their equipment. Also the place must be somewhere easily accessible and where they can be seen easily as they claim their current location under the bridge is not open enough to people and potential customers do not know how and where to locate them.
VARIOUS ASPECTS OF THE BUSINESS
The business involves a lot of hard work and is divided into various segments including
Construction of the chairs and tables, framing of the chairs and tables, weaving of the chairs and tables and finishing and making sure they are smooth before been sold to customers.
GROWTH AND PATRONAGE OF THE BUSINESS
The cane village is considered as the headquarters of cane making business so a lot of people from within and outside the country patronize the village as they come in to by their cane products. People who do business in other locations come to the village to buy raw materials which include bundles of cane. They also sell canes in bulk to other people who will like to resell as well as provide training classes to people who will like to learn the craft and trade.
CONSTRAINTS OF THE BUSINESS
Despite cane wood design and weaving being a thriving business, there are still some challenges faced by the people. They include the following:
Having a better location, which as stated earlier the workers say will help them accommodate their equipment and make people know them more
Sourcing finance to be able to continue and grow the business
There are times when it becomes difficult obtaining raw materials for production, especially where there is scarcity of fuel.
Also they believe they are being cheated as they pay a lot of fees and dues to authorities which they consider as illegal but have no choice because where they are located is not their permanent site.
This is a business that has been existence for about 40 years and the workers have urged the youth to try out the business especially when they are unable to secure office jobs. Also calls have been made to people to patronize locally made goods as this will go a long way in developing the country through the growth of small scale businesses.