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From Gamawa to Onitsha: How Umar, the barber, bridged the ethnic gap


Initially hesitant, Umar Sabo, found home in Onitsha
By Our Reporter
Tucked between the wall of the Onitsha Main Market towards the Head Bridge and cars parked within a space before the expressway from Upper Iweka, Umar Sabo etches a living as a barber known as wansan in Hausa parlance.
He sits on a bench under an umbrella among simple implements like soap, cup of water, metal instrument inserted with half-cut razor, more razors, brushes and alum serving as after-shave. Yet, he plies his trade with deft, excitement and engaging his customers in conversations. In about seven minutes, the hair cut is done and Umar earns N100 for the service.
From Gamawa in Bauchi State, Umar told Apex News in Onitsha that he first came to city over ten years ago and fell in love with the eastern commercial city. “I first came to Onitsha during the tenure of Governor Chris Ngige. Business is good here. I work for about three to four months depending on the flow of business, then travel to see my family for a few weeks and return.”
As Umar attends to a costumer, speaking partial Igbo, he doles out N2000 as a daily local contribution to a woman who stopped by.
He said he is excited to be living peacefully and working in Onitsha. According to him, initially he was apprehensive coming to Onitsha and living with people with different culture and orientation but later found out he is at home.
“I don’t intend to relocate to another place soonest. I love Onitsha and the people. I am at home,” he told Apex News.



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