The Lagos popular Jankara market, which was built in 1930 by traders in Lagos Island, is now in ruins following the demolition exercise by the Lagos State Government.
On Monday, January 20, 2020, the Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Idris Salako, gave a two-week notice to the traders at the Jankara market to vacate the premises as the place would be demolished.
According to the commissioner, vacating the market was important as government’s renewal plan for Lagos Island was about to commence. He stressed that clearing the market was in tandem with the agenda of the state government to make Lagos cleaner, and for a total redevelopment of Lagos Island. He said the redevelopment of the area would usher in infrastructure renewal as the people would enjoy modern health, recreational and road infrastructures.
But barely three days after the notice was issued, the government rolled out its bulldozers and demolished the market, leaving the traders home and dry. The only structure still left as at the time of writing this report was a toilet.
The massive land, which once accommodated the booming market, has become a dumping site where scavengers pick dirt abandoned by residents and market women.
On one side of the Idumagbo/Adeniji Adele part of the market, street urchins sat in one corner smoking their lives out. The smell of the cigarettes, Indian hemp and other substances, could be perceived, even from a distance. The market, which was once a lively place, has been reduced to a smoking joint.
The women have taken their wares to the streets and the vicinity of the demolished market to hawk, just to survive. The drainage at the side of the market where traders sell their wares has been blocked with all sorts of filth. Empty sachets of water sachet, bottles, disposable eating plates were floating on the black stagnant water in the drainage that demarcates the Jankara market and Ojo Giwa Street, where the traders currently operate.
Notwithstanding the stench oozing from the drainage, the traders sat there in anticipation that the demolished structures in the market would be rebuilt by the government.
Jankara market has been well known for various traditional items. The market, known as ‘Oja Ibasiri’ by some and ‘Oja Abalaye’ by others, had 14 divisions at inception. Some of the exclusive items in the divisions sold in large quantities are ileke ibile, also known as beads, aso-oke, herbs, coal, gold, kolanut, second hand clothes by Tapa descendants.
Other things sold at the market include meat, all kinds of plates and stainless steel, watches, kampala, ankara and adire, live chicken and pots. Tailors are also part of the 14 divisions.
It was learnt that Jankara market traders, who have found refuge by the side of the road, were constantly being harassed by different people for selling by the roadside. Many traders who were displaced from the market reportedly had no place to sell and as a result had developed high blood pressure and stroke.