Recalcitrant Traders Return to Ikeja, Oshodi Bridge   


After efforts of the past administration in Lagos State to purge Ikeja and Oshodi, popularly known as ‘under bridge’ of hawking and other trading activities, traders are now back and operating at the restricted areas.

 Market Place learnt that despite the effort of the law enforcement agents, Kick Against Indiscipline, KAI, to prevent street trading in those areas the directive is being observed in breach as new traders daily secure and patent   spaces for their wares while some others loiter around vending.

 It would be recalled that prior to the reign of Governor Raji Fashola in the state, under bridge Ikeja used to be a household centre for hair stylists patronised by ladies and women from both far and near. It also hosted newspaper vendors, book sellers, food hawkers and herbs and alcohol sellers serving touts and agberos.

 Also, Oshodi under bridge, extending to the adjoining railway lines paraded all kinds of trading activities ranging from food stuff to fashion wares.

 The last administration was not only commended for restoring sanity in these areas, it was also commended for it beautification initiative.

 However, this effort seems to have lasted a short while.  A visit to Oshodi under flyover further proved that it has relapsed to its old self. The spot is as productive as Walmart one- stop store where one can shop for all kinds of goods. The railway line is not spared either as market women have fully taken over.

 Market Place also learnt that agberos have started extorting traders in the area despite the fact that the so called market was not approved under the law.

 The same could be said of Ikeja under flyover which has almost been taken over by hairdressers and cosmetologists including other petty businesses.

According to one of the hair stylists, Mrs. Ajimo Ajayi, although the KAI officials had been tough on illegal traders, it would take a stricter and continuous effort to prevent activities in the area.

She said “the KAI officials are really preventing us, but once they are gone again we take back our position, they can’t be here for 24 hours. Though, they are sometimes fortunate to arrest and seize the wares of some of our colleagues who will later pay to secure their release, once they are released, they come back again but become smarter so they won’t fall into the hands of the agents”.

When asked why the traders are going against the law, she explained that such was not deliberate but that they were only struggling to meet end needs.

“Renting a shop here is expensive and tasking. Where is the money? Everybody knows the country is not sound economically. Yet, this is a good location for business”.

Efforts to get the local government officials of these areas to comment on this proved abortive as they were busy preparing for the elections.