Inside Lagos ‘ghost’ markets where people pay millions to sell nothing (2)

Entrance of Tejuoso market

(This is the second and final part of the investigation. Read the first part here).

Temitope Oluwatobi displays her goods on the Yaba railway line everyday with her heart literally in her mouth. Sometimes, she spends more time being on the lookout for an oncoming train than she does attending to her customers, she said. Often, whenever a train approaches, she would hurriedly pack her provisions off the rail line, with many of her items falling on the floor in the process. She hates the fact that she trades in fear, but says she has no alternative.

“We just have to survive. If we don’t do this, we are likely going to starve to death.

After all, we cannot afford to rent shops in  Tejuoso new market,” she told PREMIUM TIMES.

Ms. Oluwatobi is not alone on the rail line. She is in the company of many other traders who trade on the Yaba railway line—-fish sellers, fruit sellers, second-hand clothe traders, pop corn sellers, among others. Some of the traders sold their goods at the Old Tejuoso market before it got burnt in 2007.

TEJUOSO MARKET

On December 18 2007, the old Tejuoso market was gutted by fire, with traders losing goods worth millions of naira to the inferno. Many of the traders sold edible goods and household items at cheap prices in the market.

In its reaction to the fire incident, the Lagos State government, then headed by Babatunde Fashola, promised to re-construct the market and make it a world-standard ultra-modern market. The traders, however, expressed fears about the possibility of having their stalls returned to them after the reconstruction.

Entrance of Tejuoso Market
Entrance of Tejuoso Market

On August 26, 2014, seven years after the inferno, the Lagos State government fulfilled its promise by facilitating the complete re-construction of the market through a public-private partnership deal.

With more than 4,000 shops, a police post, a fire station, a parking space and mini-power plant, the new market is a sight to behold. Other facilities at the market include a waste disposal system, elevators and ramps, a water supply system among others.

But more than two years after the market was commissioned, the fears of the old traders have been confirmed.

HIGH RENT, POOR SALES

Checks at the market revealed that due to the high cost of rent, many of the old traders could not regain their stalls while most of the shops remain locked.

tejuoso 4
Locked stalls on the first and second floors

“The vegetable I sell here, how much is it worth that I would go rent a shop with that huge sum?” Ebere Anyanwu, a vegetable trader along Yaba-Ojuelegba road, said.

Other traders who now display their goods at the railway line in Yaba also expressed the same sentiment, adding that the shops have been priced out of the reach of the common trader.

“Many of the traders who sold at the old market before it got burnt can never, never, never afford the price,” Abike Najeem, also a fish seller at the railway line, said.

She explained that the traders have been pushed onto the road where the officials of the Lagos State Kick Against Indiscipline, KAI, as well as other government agencies often harass them at will.

“It is not even the price alone that scares you away; the politics of acquiring one even if you have your money is frustrating. The so-called landlords and shop owners just fix prices at will. The whole thing is in a mess and I don’t think government is monitoring the way
it should,” a cloth seller, Chidi Ugo, said.

PREMIUM TIMES investigations revealed that potential shop owners pay as high as between N600,000 and N5 million, depending on the stall and the agreement reached with the ‘landlord’.

“9sqm shop goes for N150,000; 19sqm for N317,000; 23sqm for N368,000
and 25sqm for N400,000,” Demola Teriba, an authorized facility manager at the market, told PREMIUM TIMES during a telephone conversation.

“All these prices are based on our special promo prices, though,” Mr. Teriba added.

When PREMIUM TIMES probed further, he noted that the prices are higher than that when there is no promo.

tejuoso 7
Another section on the first and second floors of the

“For regular prices, 9sqm goes for N400,000; 19sqm for N600,000; 25sqm for N1 million and above depending on the decision of the landlord or shop owner,” he said.

“You know, it has been sold to some individuals and those are the people who let it out. It is our company that has been given the mandate to let it out to people.”

“It is not wholly owned by government. Government provided the land and First Bank provided the finance to developers in charge of the construction,” he explained.

When PREMIUM TIMES contacted the corporate headquarters of First Bank Plc for its own position, our correspondent was directed to the Tejuoso branch of the bank. At the Tejuoso branch, a customer attendant who does not want her name in print said the facility office at the market should be contacted.

Checks at the facility office at the Tejuoso Market, however, yielded little result as officials said most enquiries should be directed to the Lagos State Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Meanwhile, an office assistant who simply identified himself as Lanre gave a breakdown of the rent at the market.

“Presently, we are organising promo. So we have 9sqm and 19sqm. For 9sqm, the rent is N150,000; legal and agency fee is 15,000; agreement fee is N15,000 and you will obtain a form at the rate of N5,000, making a total of N185,000,” he said.

“For the 19sqm, the rent is N317,000; legal and agency fee is N30,000; agreement fee is N30,000 while the form too goes for N5,000. The total is N382,000.”

When asked what the price range is when there is no promo, he disclosed that it is quite higher.

tejuoso 5
Open but empty stall on the first floor

“Well, it is higher than this; some may be double of the price I just gave or more depending on the landlord. The one I put at N382,000 may go as high as N2 million.”

Findings however revealed that despite the high cost of obtaining stalls at the market, many traders in the market still record poor sales.

“Sometimes, we don’t sell anything in a whole week,” Shade Omolayo,  a trader who sells clothing materials, told our correspondent.

“I think it is the way the market was built and the way it is being managed too,” she added.

Another trader who identified herself as Bisi said, “My aunt owns the shop and we deal in imported shoes. Sales are poor here because people rarely come into the complex. Imagine how things would be later  when it is this dry when a trade fair is going on.”

LAGOS GOVERNMENT’S REACTION

As directed by officials at the Facility unit at the Tejuoso market, PREMIUM TIMES visited the office of the Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Ministry of Commerce and Industry at the Alausa secretariat, Ikeja. But an official told our correspondent to go to
the Lagos State Market Board, adding that the ministry does not handle such issues.

At the Lagos State Market Board, Old secretariat, GRA, Ikeja, a top official of the board declined to speak officially, noting that the market board had been dissolved.

He, however, told PREMIUM TIMES that the government was aware of the concerns at the markets, adding that there are plans to regulate the activities of the “so-called landlords” at the market.

He confirmed that the markets were not constructed by the Lagos government but got it built through a public-private partnership deal. He also said he was aware the rent at the markets was high and largely unregulated, adding that there are strong indications the government would look into it once the board is re-constituted.

Roadside traders outside the Oyingbo shopping complex
Roadside traders outside the Oyingbo shopping complex

The official directed our correspondent to the Local Government Affairs, LGA, unit of the Lagos State Ministry of Local Government for further clarifications.

When PREMIUM TIMES visited the LGA unit at the ministry of local government, officials declined to speak, instead directing our reporter to the office of the Public Relations Officer, PRO, of the ministry of local government.

When the reporter checked again, Bisi Olufuwa, the PRO of the ministry, said she would direct the issues to her boss, the permanent secretary of the ministry.

“I am just seeing this (and you, too) for the first time and I promise to fix a session where you will meet my boss and discuss these issues,” she said.

Over two weeks after the visit, the spokesperson is yet to fix the appointment or reply to our questions.

TEJUOSO TRADERS APPEAL

Meanwhile, at the Tejuoso market, traders who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES appealed to the government to look into the issue of the high rent.

“Some of us on the roadside would prefer to stay in organised places but we cannot afford the rent in that (Tejuoso) market,” said a second-hand clothe trader who identified herself simply as ‘Edo Woman’.

“Let government just help us look into the cost (of the rent). As it is now, only the rich and elites can afford those shops,” Mr. Ugo, the cloth seller said.


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  • Chie Leong Lee

    恶鬼魂,闹鬼屋,凶宅全部可联系我.
    Ghosts, haunted house , haunted house all easy to solve.

    去google查询李志良 Lee chie Leong,就知道我的一切!
    Go google query Lee chee Leong, you know everything about me !

    Facebook:Chie Leong Lee

  • Facts & Figures

    Raji Fashola degraded Lagos to 3rd worst city in the world – Economist

    “The January 2014 global study of cities in the world done by the Economist Intelligence Unit
    ranked Lagos, Nigeria, as the 3rd worst livable city in the world. Indeed, Lagos has degraded
    further from its awful status in 2012 as the 4th worst city.

    On a scale of 100 Lagos now has the third poorest score of 39.0 of all cities in the world assessed.
    The study titled, ‘livability’ assessed particular characteristics of each city, such as its crime levels,
    the threat of conflict, the quality of medical care, the levels of censorship, the city temperature,
    the quality of its schools and its transport links.”

    • A. T Cole

      ALSO IN THE YEAR 2012, the theft-addicted Lagos state government under Raji Fashola floated a bond
      for ₦87.5billion in November to be borrowed at 14.5% interest rate and got public investors to subscribe
      for repayment with interest, but once the bond was fully subscribed, Raji Fashola took 40% of the money,
      about 35 billion Naira or so, and Raji Fashola handed it over in cash to Bola Tinubu, via bogus corporate
      fronts, namely: (a) Lekki Concession Company, (b) ARM company, and, (c) Hitech company;
      in a fraudulent “buy-back deal” of a supposed concession right on the 15-kilometre
      Lekki Expressway.

      This patently corrupt deal was disguisedly ‘to buy back’ Lagos state ‘concession rights’ on that Lekki tolled Expressway, according to the usually corrupt Raji Fashola. But what the dull and dishonest Raji Fashola didn’t
      say is that the Lekki land at issue belongs to Lagos state and was not sold to Bola Tinubu’s companies
      in the first place. Or did Bola Tinubu’s company invest any 35 billion Naira in expanding the road.

      In other words, by sheer fraud, Raji Fashola paid Bola Tinubu 25 years’ profit upfront in cash;
      without further work. A lien was then imposed on Lagos state allocation of federal revenue for
      the next three years to pay for this 87.5 billion Naira bond debt by all Lagos residents
      through taxes and levies.

      • O.L Pius

        @progress_b4_politics:disqus

        This thing global economists are saying is just common sense. You can’t produce 75% school cert failures
        in Lagos public schools for 16 years under both Bola Tinubu and Raji Fashola and expect Lagos to be a liveable society. Illiteracy itself is like cancer. It grows to breed armed robbers, thieves, prostitutes and
        kidnappers since illiterates are not employable. Illiteracy then causes mass poverty because illiterates
        have too little income for personal hygiene and do not now the health implication of dirty food and
        clothes. How did Raji Fashola expect the illiterates he created all over the place to accumulate
        two million Naira to pay rent in Tejuosho market other than by stealing money since
        illiterates cannot run organized business?

        • Absolutely Sane

          When you were talking of Lagos and you mentioned illiteracy you made me laugh. If Lagos is suffering from illiteracy, then the villages from which guys came from are lands of the deads because an illiterate is better than a dead man who knows nothing at all.

    • Concerned Nigeriana

      ….Where are the journalists who took money every month from Raji Fashola….to write rubbish in the papers?….
      Somebody was spoiling Lagos, stealing lands, stealing money…..and journalists say he is man of the year……
      …..There’s no way Nigeria can do genuine revolution…..without executing at least 10 journalists in bar beach……
      …..What is worth doing is worth doing well….we must grab all the FASHOLA JOURNALISTS and execute them…….

  • A. T Cole

    Premium Times Editor,

    Raji Fashola announced himself as a thief and a financial criminal
    in the year 2012. He authorised an official letter, dated November 5, issuing from
    the Lagos Ministry of Justice, stating that the Freedom of Information Act passed by
    the National Assembly and enacted into law in Nigeria does not apply to his own
    rogue administration in Lagos State. It was the most irresponsible declaration by
    any government in Nigeria since October 1, 1960.

    In that self-disgracing letter, Raji Fashola barefacedly
    declared he will never render public accounts of Lagos state
    revenue and expenditure to the people – which information is obligatory as a
    commonsense trusteeship duty of any responsible government without having to be
    asked.

    Raji Fashola’s refusal to account for public funds in Lagos is tantamount to
    Raji Fashola walking nude into a public square at mid-day to orally declare
    himself; and his Lagos State officials, as common thieves. As such, he and they
    will now have to be treated as such by the insulted public. That is the long and
    the short of it.

    • Progress.B4.Politics

      Trolling and telling this forum that you are “a thief and a financial criminal” People read newspapers to learn not to read insults! If you cannot comment without insulting yourself, stay away from the keyboard.

      On topic: Making the rent cheaper will grow the local economy faster and create more jobs. The multiplier effect will be tremendous. I think it is time for banks and other financial institutions to start thinking long term instead of short term. This complex can last 50 years if well maintained, the banks should target upwards of 35 years for return on investment.

      • Globa Skolar

        @progress_b4_politics:disqus

        ALL THROUGH THE EIGHT (8) YEARS OF MOTH CALLED RAJI FASHOLA IN LAGOS,
        WASC RESULTS SHOW 75% CONSTANT FAILURE RATE IN LAGOS PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
        THAT WAS THE MOMENT RAJI FASHOLA DESTROYED THE FUTURE OF LAGOS STATE.
        THAT WAS THE MOMENT RAJI FASHOLA LET LOOSE BLOODSHED IN LAGOS TODAY.

        • I just dey ask O!

          @progress_b4_politics:disqus : We are not to use insult here! That’s a good point. But is truth insult too?
          I am asking this question because if somebody is saying something that is true, no matter how
          strong, can it be called insult?

          Look, for example. If you and me are members of social club with 1000 other members and
          everybody is paying club dues every month and I am the club Treasurer and I refuse to give
          you people any account of how much I have collected and spent for eighty years, what will you
          call me, please?

          Will you call me holy man of God or a real thief? I think my behaviour will show you I am a real thief. Or what do you call somebody who doesn’t do accountability of other people’s money? Do you call such a person a honest man or a big thief? I no know book O! I just dey ask.

      • William Norris

        If you make the rent cheaper how will the private investors make profits? LOL…anyway.

  • RAPE on Niger DELTA

    Dear UNITED NATIONS,
    There is massive poverty in the Niger Delta. There is nothing to show for the wealth of the region as monies from the region are used to develop Abuja and the rest of the country. The only benefit the oil producing and resource owners – Biafra and Niger Delta regions benefit from Nigeria are :
    – Pollution
    – Neglect
    – Violence
    – Military Occupation
    – Wanton arrest of its citizens
    – Harassment
    – Sponsored propaganda to defame
    – Bypass in political appointments
    – Hate, hate and more hate
    – Etc etc, etc

    SECESSION is the only way for the Niger Delta and Biafran regions if they must achieve their potentials. Buhari can remain president of the rest of Nigeria and those of us who do not want to be associated with Nigeria in any way should be left alone to live our dreams and fly to our destination – have our own country. And this is what we must do.

    May God be with our freedom fighting comrades – the AVENGERS…and we look forward to the prayer sessions of Operation Hurricane Joshua and Jericho Wall which you have proposed

  • Somebody Call my name

    @A.T Cole:

    My friend, Roland, was asking me
    something few days ago. “Have you ever seen any human being with the type of
    skull Alhaji Raji Fashola carries on his neck
    ?”, he asked. I did not understand
    the point of that question and told him so. He then said, “His skull is like two
    separate tubers of yam joined loosely by UHU adhesive gum – the front lobe
    consists of water only and no other content, whilst the back lobe consists of
    mostly dishonesty and theft instincts
    ”. I still did not answer the point of his
    analogy.

    Then he said: “In a country of the blind a one-eyed man is king. Amongst the
    wholly illiterate members of APC Raji Fashola will look like a genius to them all,
    notwithstanding that Raji Fashola was failing and repeating class in secondary
    school. But because the rump of APC is worse and has no better person, Buhari
    lumped up three Ministries and handed them to Raji Fashola as the least worse
    amongst the rotten apples of APC Muslims
    .” At that moment I saw the point and
    got the drift. I have not had electricity in my house since last year December
    and Raji Fashola is the Minister for Electricity. I connected the dots.

    • e.roberto

      @A.T Cole,

      How many tomatoes can a woman sell to pay three million Naira as rent? No thinking at all. Fashola is crass.
      The Tejuosho market too is full of heat because there is no electricity to make fan or aircondition work there.
      That means people who want to buy onions or pepper cannot go there too. Is that a market or a museum?

      • Uncle Bee

        @progress_b4_politics:disqus

        I live in Lagos. I weep for the illiterates who are not numerate enough to know how
        the Raji Fashola gang of thieves robbed Lagos state blind. You need education to
        know civic rights. The Lagos mass of illiterates are just smelly statistics on the earth.
        Raji Fashola received over 400 billion as total revenues every year from year 2007.
        In eight years gross revenue would be at least 3.2 trillion Naira – not less than that.

        But Raji Fashola took advantage of the Lagos illiterates and wrote down ₦2.3 trillion.
        Because illiterates cannot read they cannot think and so they hailed Fashola’s robbery.
        If Lagosians were less illiterate and more numerate they’d realized they’d been robbed.
        By that arithmetical sleight Alhaji Raji Fashola ‘dis-appeared’ whopping 800 billion Naira.
        Raji Fashola and his own family became instant billionaires, as Lagosians waved brooms.

    • emmanuel

      Fashola is of the stock of Yoruba migrants from Sudan. Take time to look at his dirty black colouration. His brain also has nothing in it except Eko, Agidi.
      That man should be flushed through the toilet jare. A bumcum who administer paying out Lagos money to Tinubu, himself , Akiolu and the other bands of Ali baba and planted grasses. The Blue and Red buses he introduced did not survive 18 months. Na dat kin man wan give electricity? His brains is as dead as Buhari and Kemi’s

  • emmanuel

    Liar Mohammed and El-Rufai have finally finished PT. No company or reputable organisation take up advert space on street Journals, which PT has taken to in recent times.
    We know, the pay master must not be seen as failed, rather the business can fail. shame.
    After this one na Mushin Market and Agege.
    WHEN A MARKET IN A STREET CORNER BECOME HEADLINE NEWS!

    • Valedictory’ 07

      @emmanuel:

      No, no, no! You can fault Premium Times for paying too much attention to details but not for raising
      the real issues of our times. Nigeria did not suddenly drop into economic recession. No! Thefts sank
      Nigeria into the quicksands of tooth-aching economic recession. Dizeani-Madueke was robbing NNPC,
      Raji Fashola ws looting Lagos state treasury like a drunken mariner, Yemi Adeola was receiving the
      stolen money at Sterling Bank and hiding it off balance books, whilst the men in uniform like the
      Chief of Defence Staff Alex Badeh was exposed in court to be pocketing 500 million Naira plus
      every month from arms procurement budget. The effect of that banditry across 36 states
      and in the federal capital Abuja, threw Nigeria into this three consecutive quarters of
      extreme mass poverty in economic recession without any means of escape till now.
      This Tejuosho market illustrates the mess. It is not fit for purpose. It’s utter waste.
      Multiply such waste across 36 states and all you’ll get is economic recession.
      Retards like Raji Fashola (imbued with kleptomania) destroyed Nigeria.

      • Vivarevo2

        Only a bloody revolution can save Nigeria. Only a bloody revolution can save Nigeria!

        Thieves and victims cannot live in peace inside the same house in peace and unity.

      • emmanuel

        Every economy runs in cycles and a break leads to recession. The monies stolen from Nigeria did not lead to recession. Agreed there was so much philandering in the land and that has not stopped now (i recall. the $5,000 by Buhari and Tinubu and $3,000 by Atiku bribe for vote at AP Presidential primaries in November 2014 at Teslim Balogun, i suppose non of them inherited wealth from their parents from where those monies where drawn – all stolen monies)
        It is noted that Buhari’s cronies, including the ones running the security aparatus of Nigeria at present are digging deep into Nigeria treasury for personal gains and no one checks them.
        Those who asked Buhari to run Nigeria for six months without federal operatives and another 12 months without budget were big fools who led us into recession.
        I followed up closely how JP Morgans of this World too us out and lots of st**id Nigeria said to hell with them, by which time most FDI’s had taken a walk and my monies in the Capital market turned used toilet tissue papers.
        Now the propaganda of stolen money leading to recession rent the land.
        If you did know why IBB opened up Nigeria economy to huge spendings when he took over in 1985 and ended not putting up any policy to develop home grown economy there after, it was Buhari senselessness when he ran Nigeria aground then.
        Most of the people he accused of stealing Nigeria dry and why he took over were actually middle classed and never had wealth.
        We are at it again killing ourselves over bunch of inglogrious leaders driving our lives to hell on earth and celebrating them.
        The same Buhari is shamelessly sayong his family would not have so much to inherit when he dies. It is all fabu to deceive gulible Nigeria. Buhari has so much. His hypocrisy smells to high heaven!

  • straight-to-the-point

    @progress_b4_politics:disqus

    IF PRESIDENT BUHARI WERE FIGHTING CORRUPTION, RAJI FASHOLA WOULD BE IN JAIL.

    • Zak Eneji Muhammed

      I guess u mean if Buhari was fighting corruption according to your own way.

  • Mary

    THIS TO INFORM THE GENERAL REPUBLIC CONCERNING; THE PURCHASE OF DANGOTE 3X CEMENT AT A PROMO PRICE OF 1000# PER BAG AND RICE (MAMA AFRICA, MAMA GOLD, ROYAL SATALLION) 10,000# PER BAG. COST OF TRANSPORTATION FOR CEMENT IS 150# PER BAG AND RICE IS 500# PER BAG. CONTACT THE HEAD OF SALES, PASTOR THOMAS AISEMOTA ON 07038534730. NOTE: COST OF TRANSPORTATION IS MADE BEFORE DELIVERY.

  • Impulse400

    This market is an early legacy of Raji Fashola Cabal… They use it as a practice example of how to colonize properties all over Lagos. Alade market around Allen junction is another example. All the traders have entered One Chance. They can never get shops in those complexes again.

    No one should pity them. They sold their votes for N50, a bowl of rice and a broom. Let them learn the consequences the hard way.

  • Joel Akhator Odigie

    PT, many thanks for focusing on issues affecting our working poor, especially the resilient and hard working women. Life gets harder when policies are designed and implemented to hurt rather alleviate suffering. People are down and the consequences for society would be dire.

    Compassion and political will from government officials are forced when they know their actions have consequences.