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New Okada Rider On The Block

According to the GUARDIAN, Mrs. Ugo Mouka has been earning a living from hawking of ice blocks for the past 20 years. Mouka, who saw the loopholes caused by erratic supply of electricity in the country, and problem faced by many Nigerians in icing their drinks; capitalized on it by starting ice blocks business.

ICE block business is not new, but what distinguishes Mrs. Ugo Mouka’s business from others is the fact that she moves around with a motorcycle and sells ice blocks to people at their doorsteps.

The mother of a three-year-old girl sells ice blocks in the morning and runs a restaurant in the evening.When this reporter saw her at Isuti junction, Egan, Alimosho Local Council, Lagos, she was busy fixing her motorcycle which developed a minor fault. She barely had time to pay attention to the reporter but managed to dictate her cell phone number.

Two weeks after, the reporter eventually located her mini restaurant but she was again busy selling ice blocks to her customers in that same area of Igando.

Finally, she paid attention: “Oga, what do you want from me? I am busy with my business. Are you going to give me money for this interview?”, she asked jokingly.

Asked why she chooses hawking ice blocks of all the businesses around, Mouka explained that the ice blocks business was the only business that was not capital intensive for her to start.

“I started selling ice blocks in 1995 when I first came to Lagos. I have traded in many businesses, like tomatoes, mango, apples and many fruits in Umulere, Anambra State, way back in the village but on getting to Lagos, I resolved to run commercial motorcycle, popularly known as okada.

“I ride okada in the morning to raise N2000 to N3000 before going to buy ice blocks and resell to people. I supplied it around using the same motorcycle. I have been selling ice block since when it was sold for N10, N15 and even when it was two for N25. And today, when the price has gone up to N50 and N100, I am still in the business”.

On what pushed her into the business, Mouka explained that she came to Lagos after graduating from Umulere Technical School, Anambra State in 1995. “On graduation, I realized that I have to work hard to take care of my younger ones who are five in number because our parents were late. I have been able to raise them and I thank God for my life.

“I used to sell up to 200 to 300 blocks before but now, the business is not moving as such. I now sell less than 100 pieces of blocks per day because many people are now into the business. Yet, I am grateful to God”.