Impact of Area Boys on Business Survival in Nigeria
In Nigeria, the phrase “Area Boys” is commonly used to describe gangs of young men that cause disturbances and occasionally commit crimes. This name originated in the city of Lagos. Markets, bus stops, and other public areas are common places to spot them. Area Boys can have a major effect on a company’s ability to stay open in Nigeria. Here are some of the ways in which they might impact businesses:
1. Extortion: Area Boys are known to extort money from businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises. They often demand “protection money” or other forms of payment, which can significantly reduce a business’s profits.
2. Violence and Intimidation: Area Boys can sometimes resort to violence or intimidation tactics, which can disrupt business operations and deter customers. This can lead to a loss of revenue and even business closure in extreme cases.
3. Unpredictability: The unpredictable nature of Area Boys can make it difficult for businesses to plan and operate effectively. This unpredictability can create an unstable business environment, which can discourage investment and growth.
4. Informal Taxation: Area Boys often impose informal “taxes” on businesses, particularly in markets and bus parks. These taxes can increase the cost of doing business and reduce profitability.
5. Damage to Reputation: The presence of Area Boys can damage the reputation of a business area, making it less attractive to customers and potential investors.
Not all Area Boys engage in criminal behaviour, and some actually serve as a de facto security force in some neighbourhoods. The effect might be very different from one place to another and from one type of business to another.
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Impact of Area Boys on Business Survival in Lagos