Filth and hazards of night market
In Ikotun market, where traders sell in the midst of filth, caution is thrown to the wind as they openly display commodities, including loaves of bread (wrapped and unwrapped), vegetables, fruits and others on the ground, not minding attendant health hazards. Not even the stench emanating from heaps of refuse or fumes from vehicles is enough to worry these traders. All they are interested in is to make good sales.
Traders here pour into the road, thereby making it difficult for motorists and other road users to operate freely. This leads to traffic build-up when such should not be the case.
According to Remi Adelusi, “Ikotun Roundabout Market is a reflection of what is happening in the Nigerian economy. Everyone wants to be engaged, earn a living and as such has to be involved in one form of business or the other. These traders are here till the wee hours, after the main market had long closed. These traders that stay behind to sell their wares by the roadside, or by the canal, constitute a public nuisance, as on different occasions, vehicles have run into them. All these have failed to deter others as they still come back after every mishap,” he said.
He said even though a lot of wares are sold in the market in the day, the evening market is mostly for perishable items that could not be sold in the day.
“We even have more traders in the evening market than in the day because persons involved in other economic activities in the day, come to the market to sell at night. For instance, some of the young people running around with loaves of bread in polythene bags are students, who are making brisk businesses on their own, or are selling to support their parents or guardians,” he said.
For Gloria Oyekanmi, the issue goes beyond business, and should attract the attention of health authorities, since the traders making use of public space are taking advantage of the absence of Kick Against Indiscipline (KIA) Corps.
She said the situation gets worse whenever it rains as the entire neighbourhood becomes messy and smelly, especially when the canal overflows.
“Once I bought a spoilt loaf of bread simply because I was in a hurry. I only discovered that the loaf was terribly bad after I reached home. Some of these traders use the cover of darkness to sell substandard and spoilt goods to unsuspecting members of the public.
“Another negative thing about the market is the lack of control. Unlike during the day when an aggrieved customer could get help from the market authorities, the late night market operates like a jungle, where anything and everything goes. Once a bad commodity has been sold to you, you might need the help of God to make the seller refund your money,” she said.
Despite the complaints, some patrons still believe the market remains a necessity since it has continued to meet their needs.
According to Ijeoma Afugiri, a trader, many of her colleagues prefer the evening market because they pay council officials less, compared to what shop owners pay.
“The cost of renting a shop in this market is very high, so we chose to operate from makeshift shades. And those who cannot get any space spread fabrics or cellophane materials on the ground and display their commodities. We pay very little to persons who claim to represent council officials, after which we are allowed to sell,” she said.
On the quality of goods sold in the night market, she cautioned buyers against shopping in a haste, without thoroughly inspecting items they wish to purchase, adding that most people in the night market were out to make quick money.
“Never buy any item while in a moving vehicle, or in a haste and expect to get the best because traders use such opportunities to sell off bad items. So, to avoid buying rotten fruits, spoilt meat, and other spoilt items, one needs to take a good look at what he/she is paying for.
“Also, one should be weary of extremely cheap commodities. Most traders use this means to dispose bad commodities and you cannot blame them because you were not forced to make the purchase,” she cautioned.
Mark Ajekigbe, is deeply worried at the poor state of sanitation in the night market. He, therefore wants health authorities, as well as, stakeholders in the market to rise to the occasion by ensuring that sanity returns to the market.
He specifically charged the LCDA authorities to provide thrash bins around the market so as to facilitate the collection of waste. He also wants them to monitor the activities of traders in the night market.
“As much as this serves as an avenue for people to earn a living, and even for the local council to generate revenue, government should be concerned with what is happening in this market. Government should provide streetlights and bins in this market, and also regularly clear the refuse generated from the market.”
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