Traders Criticize Demolition Of Oshodi Market

Written by NaijaEcash

Topics: Entrepreneur, Nigerian

Retail Traders Decry Demolition of Oshodi Market

Several Small Retail Traders in Lagos, who operates their businesses in the popular Oshodi Market, returned from the holidays to face their worst nightmare in the New Year 2009. They have been rendered jobless! I guess they never imagined that the Lagos State Government will demolish their places of businesses without providing alternative location. Well, that is what the Lagos State Government did on the 4th of January, 2009.

oshodi_market_nigeria

Oshodi Market Nigeria

Government and Elites Argument In Favor of Market Demolition

Governor Fashola wants to transform Lagos from a “garbage and lawless” city to a world class mega city. Well, I’ll say “That is a beautiful vision and commendable!” Many of the city elites justify the government action by arguing that too many of the traders were carrying out their businesses on the road and constituting a real nuisance to motorists and other road users. Well, I know that is true. But there can’t be smoke without fire.

Traders Argument Against Market Demolition

Government has not been providing affordable shops and stalls for petty traders. They only build ultra modern markets that are meant for the rich. For example, how many “bole seller” (roasted plantain petty trader) can pay for government built stalls? Since man must eat, we were forced to continue street trading! Well that sounds like a valid point to me, but then, the law must be obeyed. So, I will state my personal opinion on the matter.

My Opinion

A successful entrepreneur is one that plans and ensures that his/her operations fall within what the Law of the land considers as acceptable practice. So, many of the traders knew that it is illegal to trade on the streets and roads. Yet because of the non-enforcement of the law by the government agents, street trading and conducting business transactions on roads and railways have become the norm among them. So, each trader that has lost in this demolition has a portion of the blame. However, that does not mean that the Government have done well.

The government agencies responsible for town planning have performed poorly over the years. As the population of the city explodes, they have done nothing to cater for the needs of the growing population. The Oshodi Market that was established, as a Flea Market, by the local indigenes over hundreds of years ago was left unattended to, and naturally, the market have spread beyond the original boundaries unto the roads and railway.

Oshodi Lagos

Oshodi Lagos

Those local government agents who have been collecting taxes and levies from these traders for years without providing decent place for them to carry out their businesses must be crooks. Yes, the taxes and levies collected from the traders who were operating illegally on the road cannot be justified. It can best be classified as bribe!

The Lagos State Government knows fully well that flea markets is part of African culture, Africans especially Nigerians love flea markets, so there is need to provide open ground locations within the city for petty traders to carry out their business. A “bole ” trader will never agree to pay for a shop or stall. Just give her a little space to display her product and sell to people. The government cannot sweep this need under the carpet. That is what I see them trying to do in this case. This can have serious consequences for the Lagos population.

Bole Roasted Plantain

Bole Roasted Plantain

Several young men who have been earning their daily bread through hard labor in Oshodi market are now rendered jobless and hopeless. Lagosians should pray that those young men will not turn to crime. Or better still Governor Fashola should be advised to provide alternative business location at affordable cost for those traders. This will be for the good of all. This is Lagos, Nigeria, not New York or Paris. There is a common saying in Nigeria “man must wack” It simply means, a man must eat, and will do anything in desperation when starving. Whether Lagos Government likes it or not, those displaced Oshodi Market Traders are crying, “man must wack”.

The Governor’s vision of making Lagos a mega city that will attract tourists is a good idea, but the vision will remain an unfulfilled dream if the poor people among the populace are denied means of livelihood and are left uncatered for. Victoria Island, Ikoyi, Lekki etc might not be so safe if millions on the mainland are rendered jobless, homeless and hopeless.

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13 Comments Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. I support the government’s action. I will blog my full opinion on this matter later today.

    • NaijaEcash says:

      Thanks for visiting. I’ll be looking forward to your post on the subject. Cheers.

    • laura palmer says:

      you would make a poor leader because you did not express any sympathy or empathy for the people that were at lost FINANCIALLY. Your self serving. Obviously you are a coward and uncaring person. Empathy or sympathy first and them express your vision for Oshodi and what you hopes and vision. Those were human being who deserve to dream just like YOU.

      • NaijaEcash says:

        I guess you need to re-read the entire post above all over again. Facts were presented without undue emotions. If I guess correctly, you’ve never been to Oshodi before the demolition was carried out by Government. For your information, I have been there several times. While I feel for those traders, I cannot shy away from the truth. The demolition is for the greater good of the masses and potential tourist. It is simply unfortunate that the exercise was carried out without proper provision of succor for those traders who were rendered jobless.
        My sympathy towards the traders is simply because every man deserve a means of livelihood. Not that they were on the right side of the law. It is utterly foolish to be trading on RAILWAY tracks. It is not done anywhere in the world.

        • Olajide says:

          I am not here to comment on the whole matter. But I just want to comment on the fact that you mentioned that it is not done anywhere else in the world- Actually it is. There is a video on Youtube. The link is provided below. I understand that it is dangerous. But it is also a dynamic urban phenomenon.

  2. izu mou says:

    Lagos must be cleaned from all those rubbishes but let fashiola consider the unemployment effect he must understand we are passing through economic crisi here in Nigeria.

  3. Olasunkanmi Iyanda says:

    Days of “Lagos is no man’s Land is over”. I don’t see people travelling to Europe and American and set up vendor stand on the street just because they can’t afford to pay there rent. I got some news for you. If you don’t have a plan on how to survive in Lagos, stay in your villages. I’m coming back home to work for the Lagos State government for free for one month.

    • NaijaEcash says:

      @Iyanda
      You used quite strong words in convening your support for what the Lagos State government is doing. For your information, I am not against the vision of turning Lagos to a modern city that will attract tourist from all over the world.
      However, government need to go about the implementation of such lofty ideas in a way that will not create societal problems. Like I mentioned in the post, tourists will not come to Lagos if it is infested with unemployed youths that are engaged in crime!
      The government must find a way to rehabilitate the petty traders. New York and other cities in the developed nations were not built overnight. They are products of long term plan and meticulous project executions.

  4. wilson joel says:

    i think it’s cool to demolish oshodi! i am originally from that side but i live abroad for the past 4 years now. . . the fact remains that we are lawless people,we struggle yeah…but we are lawless…Fashola is doing good and i think i will also come work for the government free for one month!!!!

  5. hareem olusheye says:

    Kudos to you, governor fashola and we in Europe are hearing and seeing all the good work you’re doing in Lagos state most especially on oshodi market demolition. Keep the good works moving and I really love that spirit, am sure four years will not be enough for you and your team to complete that project. eko o ni baje ooo!!!!!

  6. omotosho says:

    i think lagos is a wounderful city and is worth a mega city, the only thing i think is just for the badagry express way passing through alaba ragho, it is ver unfutunate that poeple are finding it very hard to pass the road cos of the mallams using half or the high way as car-parks and peti-bussiness and trucks loading pack, its very unfair to commuters,
    i know fashola goverment can do more to assist

  7. olumede says:

    to you governor fashola,we in china here that your good work has preach good helth to lagos pls try to do it to nigeria too so we can live in nigeria cos there is no pleace like home.

  8. Raji ahmed says:

    For the first time in the history of this great nation as far as i’m concerned we are experiencing a change for d better. I lived in europe for about 3yrs nd i’ve witness things done d right way then i use to ask myself, why are this things not working here in nigeria. Then i come to realise that majority of the people dont even want things done. In a nut shell the lagos state government notify the traders b4 d demolish but d traders felt like d warning will be approached as they use to. Well i’m very sorry about the loss but its high time we start doing the right thing.

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