Store owners at Shoprite malls in Lagos have lamented the loss of goods worth millions of naira during last week’s looting of South Africa-linked outlets in response to xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in the country.
Our correspondent, who went round some of the malls, observed that four shops at the Shoprite mall in Surulere – Valuables Boutique, M&G, US Polo and Household Deluxe – were badly damaged as protesting youths broke into them.
The Managing Director, Valuables Boutique, Castus Iyke, told our correspondent that he lost close to N30m to the incident.
Iyke, who deals in wristwatches, smart watches, suits, shirts, jeans and shirts, said some of his shelves were now empty owing to the huge pillage of the store.
Another victim, Simi Dada, said cash realised from sales before the attack was stolen, adding that she lost property worth millions of naira to the protesting youths/looters.
She said the damage to her store, which employs 10, ran into thousands of naira.
The Manager of the Surulere Mall, Oladele Olabanjo, told our correspondent that the stores were fully-owned by Nigerians.
He stated that outlets in the mall employed at least 2,000 Nigerians, adding that the shop owners saw no correlation between what happened in South Africa and the malls.
Olabanjo said, “Four shops – M&G, US Polo, Valuables Boutique and Household Deluxe – as well as Shoprite stores were heavily looted.
“The youth broke the display glasses of Card Stores, Patrick Ayan Ski and Movie. The 49-inch TV in the car park was damaged in addition to three television sets.
“The M&G store had a total stock of N8.6m, but the youth took away N817,500 realised from the day’s sales.
“Valuable Boutique sells expensive shoes, designer wristwatches, smart watches and shirts, among others. Unfortunately for the owner of M&G, she just took a loan from a bank; the same thing with the owners of the other looted stores.
“All these malls are fully-owned by Nigerians. All the employees are Nigerians, there’s no single South African working here. All the staff members of Shoprite malls are Nigerians, from the cleaners to the branch managers.
“It is a pity that the owners of the looted stores did not have insurance cover. I don’t know how they are going to cope.”
Our correspondent observed that some of the stores had yet to reopen as their owners had not recovered from the shock of the attack on the outlets.
At the Ikeja Mall, our correspondent observed that three police vans were stationed in strategic points leading to the complex, while shoppers were being thoroughly screened before being allowed in. An Armoured Personnel Carrier was also stationed close to the entrance to Iyalla Street.