In recent times, secondhand underwear popularly called “okrika” has become common in Nigerian cities and villages, as some people prefer them to new ones.
Some buyers of secondhand underwear who spoke in Abuja said that they preferred the secondhand underwear because it’s cheaper and lasts longer, while others said they rather stick to buying new underwear to avoid allergies and infections.
Some of them said they patronise the secondhand underwear not only because of its affordability but also for the durability.
Mr Franklyn Obi, who spoke at the Goza weekly secondhand market, said that he had no ill feelings towards the use of secondhand underwear, because they are affordable for many families.
“Fairly used underwear is cheap, although, most times it wears off faster since it’s been used before,” he said.
He added that he buys them for his wife and daughters if he likes them.
“Sometimes they last long, while some do not last but underwear is not meant to be worn for too long.”
According to him, “my wife wears secondhand underwear and since we got married, I have not seen any side effect or health complication.
“Sometimes she buys the ones with stain and funny smell, after washing and disinfecting them, if the stain doesn’t wash off, we discard them but if it is clean, I allow her to use it.
“No matter what you buy as second hand, they are good, as long as you wash and disinfect before use,” Mr Obi said.
Another Abuja resident, Mrs Bisi Oyeye, stated that most of her clothes and underwear are second hand because of her size, adding that most new clothes are not strong like the fairly-used ones.
“The fairly used clothes last longer and I can get my size easily, without stress.
“For new ones I have to keep trying until I get my size and most times the underwear will tear. I have to pay for it. And I can’t use it again.
” I have been using second hand underwear since I started buying underwear for myself, and I have not noticed any side effect not only because it’s cheap but because it’s more durable when you get a good one,” Oyeye said.
Dr Wealth Uba, a general practice doctor in Abuja, noted that no one had ever reported any infection arising from the use of second hand underwear.
“So far, we haven’t heard any report or case of second hand underwear causing harm or any health issue to anyone.
”It is advisable, however, that if you must use second hand clothing, you must wash them with hot water, and disinfect.
” Because you don’t know who used it before it was sent to Nigeria or sold to you. Wearing used underwear cannot cause malaria or typhoid.
“Although many people have told us, they got cancer from the use of secondhand underwear, which has not been proven by any scientific research yet,” the doctor said.
Mrs. Folake Adeyemi, who sells secondhand underwear, said “I have been in this business for more than 10 years. Nobody has come back to complain to me about any side effect.
‘The complaint I get most times are size issues, because a bail may come with small sizes all through sometimes only big sizes, which makes it difficult to sell.
But when it is combined, in two market days you have made the money you need to buy more. ‘
“We have two types of bails, the Korean and London, the Korean bail has a lot of bad and over used underwear which smells and has a lot of stains.
“But the London bail has been the best. It is strong, thick and does not smell so it’s said to be clean, and more expensive than the Korean bail. ‘
“Many people who like to buy “Okirika” have the problem of bending down to select. And the smell affects people with health issues like Asthma, the chemicals used in preserving them put people off.
“For some people the fact that a total stranger wore it for a period of time is enough to turn them off,” she said.
According to Miss Gift Nwachukwu, a resident of Lugbe, I don’t buy secondhand underwear and I don’t use them either, because I don’t know about the person who used them before.
“If that person has skin problems, which spread bacteria, I believe that when you use them you get skin infection like eczema and rashes.
“I am very cautious not to buy or use secondhand underwear.
“Beside this, when buying secondhand underwear you have to be careful not to buy oversized or over damaged ones. Which will take much time to look for.
“New ones come in sizes, style and different designs and you only need a few minutes to identify your size,” Nwachukwu said.