Bounce Exclusive: Yaba Traders Are 'Die Hards'!
By the time the traders were told that the destruction was a mistake, some stalls had already turned to debris.
David, one of the affected traders, looked up and down, then up again as he wiped off sweat from his forehead.
He shook his head, steadied the hammer in his arm and aimed at the nail. Each time he banged, the nail went into the plank.
He was reconstructing his narrow stall by the rail line. David says he survived the mysterious fire outbreak that burnt his goods in a shopping mall in Yaba and he is determined not to lose again.
He checked the wood to make sure it held in place, before squeezing his face as he continued banging away.
Another trader simply identified as Uche needs to raise money to pay a mason to replace the destroyed blocks that outline his stall located close to the rail line.
Uche claims he paid 100,000 Naira for the stall and he cannot afford to waste anytime sitting around and sobbing.
Traders who have created a market by the railway line in the Yaba area of Lagos are protesting in silence.
They have learnt how to adapt and survive after many experiences in handling what they describe as disasters created on purpose.
On April 19, the Lagos government in continuing the fight against illegal structure wore its boxing gloves and went toe to toe with traders near the Tejuosho Market Complex. A bulldozer was allegedly unleashing to destroy illegal stalls.
Kunle who was affected by the destruction give an account of what he says he saw;
“As they were demolishing the shops, people began packing their goods, after a while we decided to ask why they were destroying our means of livelihood, the officials just told us that it is ‘orders from above’
“We began begging them, while we were still begging some people came and said that it was a mistake, that they were demolishing the wrong place, so they left and did not disturb us again.
“But there are rumours that they might still come back to demolish; so everyone has been told to always be on alert. They can come anytime. Today, tomorrow, next week, who knows.
“We live everyday on maybe. Maybe we might have a shop today and maybe we might not have a shop tomorrow. We only ask the government to help us” he said.
A shopping mall opposite the main Tejuosho Market Complex in Lagos was gutted by fire on October 16, 2016, with 96 shops going up in flames.
Many of the affected, were left with 2 options.
They could move into the Tejuosho Market Complex which is very expensive and remains empty or pay for space by the railway line.
The railway line stalls come with a 6,000 Naira registration form and stalls with rents ranging from 30,000 to 100,000 Naira per year.
While shops built as an extension of the main Tejuosho market inside the complex, costs 180,000 Naira, and includes constant electricity and water.
Many traders can only afford the stalls on the rail line.