Alade Market: Unpaid Loans, Health Hazard, Low Patronage: Iyaloja Adenuga Reveals Effects of Relocation
During the last yuletide season, Legit.ng head of the entertainment desk visited the popular Alade Market on Allen Avenue, Ikeja, to procure some things for the family. On getting to the market, at its temporary place where it was relocated after the initial market space was broken down for renovation and upliftment to a modern market, an empty market was met with the sellers looking gloomy over low patronage.
While at its original location, Alade Market was a converging place for buyers and sellers of items ranging from raw foodstuffs to clothes, home utensils, beauty products and others.
A visit to a shop to buy lace aso ebi for the yuletide’s owambe led me to the Iyaloja of Alade market, Elizabeth Aina Adenuga, who lamented low patronage among other things.
An interview appointment was fixed for Saturday, January 14. I took a tour of the famous Alade market which has become a shadow of itself with empty shops locked up.
In her 70s, Iyaloja Adenuga narrated how the market was relocated to the temporary site with the promise of them going back to its original location on Allen Avenue by the Ikeja local government authorities.
How the ever-busy market becomes almost empty
“The market was originally located on Allen Avenue under the Ikeja local government authority. It was allocated as a marketplace during the military regime in 1979. It was during the government of former Lagos state governor, late Alhaji Lateef Jakande in 1980 that structures were put in place. In 2016, the local government authorities said it want to build a befitting and modern shopping complex at the location. The project was contracted to a concessionaire, Master Reality owned by Lai Omotola, who was given 18 months to conclude the reconstruction. Here we are, 18 months have turned into seven years and we are almost helpless.”
But a place was allocated for the temporary market, why the lamentation? Adenuga revealed that:
“This temporary location is not healthy for our people and customers as it stinks. It has been a health hazard to many who have withdrawn their patronage because of the stench coming from the canal behind the market. Many shop owners have locked their shops up because of low patronage and the health hazard the stench can cause and has caused in some cases.”
During the rainy season, they try to clear the canal but that’s not enough. This canal is a major canal and at times it overflows. We used to have a pedestrian bridge here but it was swept away when the canal overflowed. Before we would have human casualties, we are pleading with the government to intervene and take us back to our original site which is away from water and stench.
Tour of the market
Legit.ng took a walk around the market and found many shops empty and in the ones opened, the sellers were idle or sleeping. Some were seen peeling egusi to pass time while hoping that customers would come.
Legit.ng spoke with a cloth vendor, Dave who narrate their ordeal in the temporary Alade market. He noted that many shops are being swallowed up by a canal close to the marketplace and that it is the canal that has been producing the foul smell causing health hazards to them and their customers. He noted that waste products from companies around Ikeja pass through the channel and at times settled there.
Dave said the market association do employ the services of men to help clean the canal so the smelling waste products can flow through. He noted that I came at a good time as they just cleared the canal a day prior to my coming.
“The canal is caving in and almost swallowing some shops located at the back of the market. We later discovered that companies along Agidingbi’s waste products settles in the canal at the back of our market and it stinks. Most of our customers have ran away, even shop owners. This place is worse during the rainy season, everywhere would be flooded with rainwater entering shops.”
Members of the market association also spoke in distress. They shared some documents showing that the Ikeja local government severed the contract of reconstructing the old Alade market from the concessionaire since he could not meet up with the time given to him. One of them fondly called Baba said:
“We are gradually losing members of the market. As I’m talking to you now, a shop owner on this line is relocating by Monday. Before everybody will run away from the market we need the government to intervene. This is our only source of income. We have family and children we are taking care of too.”
Dave also explained:
“People took loans to do business here but at the end of the day, they couldn’t repay their loans because of low patronage and the conductivity of this place.”
Aside from that, Legit.ng also gathered that the concessionaire has allegedly been selling uncompleted shops at the old Alade market space online to people who are not original occupants of the shop at the rate of N15 million while neglecting the former owners of the stops who are at the temporary site. The case was said to have been reported at the police station.
“Even in the temporary site, Lai Omotola built lock up shops and rented it out. Also at Phase Two, he has 115 lock up shops there. It’s just like using us to gather money. It is none of our business. He should just give us back our market.”
Role of Ikeja local government authority Alade market relocation
The Iyaloja claimed that the local government has revoked the contract from the concessionaire.
“The local government claimed it has suspended the agreement it had with the concessionaire, which was to rebuild the Alade market in 18 months. Notice to this effect was pasted in the market stating that its contract with Master Reality has been withdrawn since it’s taking longer to complete the market. That happened in October 2021, but the company is still on the site.”
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