by Usman Alabi
It started with the construction of the gigantic new Tejuosho market complex after fire gut the previous one. Could there be a grand plan behind the demolition and construction going on in Yaba. Yaba might not be as populated as Oshodi when it comes to market activities, but it is nonetheless a force to be reckoned with and has its own peculiarities.
Perhaps, the initial idea behind the construction of the complex is to move the road side sellers into the complex, make way for easy flow of traffic and still retain the market activities Yaba is known for.
The recently completed Tejuosho market has not been fully occupied, no thanks to the fact that most of the traders cannot afford the cost it will take to get shops in the complex. Hence, the menace of road side selling was not immediately tackled even after the complex was completed. Yet the Lagos state government did not give up on Yaba. Now LASG is currently building a BRT terminal (Park) in what used to be a section of the market as well as public transport park.
Presently, traders are no more allowed to sell on the road, this is especially effective during the day, some of the traders still do so in the evening.
Shops have also been destroyed last week Saturday. YMonitor spoke to a trader whose shop was affected, he claimed that, “they told us that railway line will be passing through that section of the road, that was the reason why our shops were destroyed”. With the current construction going on (BRT Terminus), the space for movement has shrunk.
Yet more is still to come, especially against the background of the Minister of Transport’s statement Rotimi Amaechi, according to him “The two bridges that we may likely demolish are Jibowu and Costain to give way to the rail lines” he said. The Minister said the laying of tracks of Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line would start in December. This explains the demolition of some shops in the Yaba market. There is no doubt that more demolition is on the way, the track when laid, will probably take a bend behind the previous track, which will obviously lead to the clearing of any obstruction in its way. Eventually, the government is coming for Yaba in a tacit way, this time they will not have to tell the traders to move, the ongoing construction when completed will perhaps make it difficult to trade, barely leaving space for even commuters.
This same situation is going on in Oshodi, where LASG is carrying out several construction which is beginning to hit into the market, making it difficult for traders to sell on the road side, these various constructions going on in Oshodi when completed will give it a new look.
Hence, just like Oshodi, Lagos is gradually reclaiming Yaba with little or no effort, as much as the result is something to desire, one wonder what the lot of those selling in those areas will be. Yet, change will come for all of us whether we are prepared for it or not.