Owolabi had run his tailoring shop at Alade market for nearly 10 years.

From the proceeds of this shop, he’d trained his 3 children to the secondary school level that they’re currently in.

But in July 2016, things took a downward turn for him.

After months of notice, the state government finally shut down the old market for the all-new, ultra-modern Alade market.

Alade market

Now ordinarily, this should have been a welcome development, but the cost of shops in the new market had jumped up by 300 per cent, making it impossible for Owolabi to afford a shop.

“I used to pay N50,000 per year in the old market. But now, a small shop in the new market is N150,000 a year. I can’t afford it so I have to find somewhere else” Owolabi shared with Bounce News.

Owolabi’s story is similar to many shop owners who were forced to seek a means of livelihood elsewhere because of the high cost of shops in the new Alade market. While for others who could get shops in the new market, the story isn’t much better as many complain of poor sales.

“This market is dry unlike the old market where there are plenty customers. We’re not really making sales here and the cost of shop is very high” a shop owner told Bounce under the condition of anonymity.

But for Mrs Olajumoke Idowu who has been in Alade market for 30 years, the recession and not location change is responsible for the low patronage that has hit the new Alade market.

Alade market

In the beginning

During the early days of Alade market, there was very little sales, this is according to Mrs Idowu who also serves as secretary of the Alade Market Association.

“At the beginning of the old Alade market, there was no sale. We were just managing till a stage we had to tell council that they should build small shops for meat and pepper sellers to use. There was no provision for that at the time. The local government agreed with us and we went to Ipodo to invite the meat, fish and pepper sellers”

Alade market

The strategy worked like a charm.

In no time, Alade market took off and started to record numbers so huge that it would cause traffic jams along Allen avenue. Soon enough, the Ikeja local government council came in and decided that the market was no longer befitting of Allen avenue – one of Ikeja’s most famous high streets.

Thus, the market relocation plan was born.

After several meetings and deliberations, the marketers finally agreed to be relocated to the new ultra-modern market.  But the cost of relocation is proving too costly for many traders.

The cost of renting a shop ranges from about N150,000 to N400,000 annually for lock-up shops. This is up from about N84,000. While cost of buying ranges from around 3 to 4 million naira for a period of about 15 years.

Alade market

A stroll through the market revealed that many of the shops remained unoccupied, presumably because of the high cost of rent.There was also a general low turnout of customers as many shop owners desperately beckoned on anyone who walked by.

Traders at the food market section didn’t seem to fare any better as Bounce News observed there was a very low turnout of customers there as well.

“We’re still complaining that there’s no market and tax people came to tell us about tax. I don’t have anything to say” a trader complained to Bounce News as we approached her for a comment on the situation of things in the market.

Alade market

Also speaking withBounce News, Mr Newman, a second-hand bra seller blamed the low turn-out of customers on weak government policies.

“CBN is not doing their work well. See bras I used to buy cheap before in Cotonou is now very expensive. Dollar is high now and its making everything to be expensive. Customers that use to buy 4/5 bras before now struggle to buy 1”

We shall overcome

Despite the seeming bleakness of the current situation at Alade market, several remain hopeful that things will improve with the economy.

“Economy affected us badly, if people have money they will gladly come to wherever you are” Mrs Idowu said.

She also shared with Bounce News that there were still ongoing talks with the government to reduce the cost of shops.

Also for Mohammed, a Bureau de Charge (BDC) operator in Alade market, the lag in customers is a temporary situation that will change with time.

“Give this market like 3 years you no go know am again. Everywhere go come fine well well and customers go plenty. Na small small” he said.