Two years after it opened for use, the Ultra-Modern Tejuosho Market, located at Yaba, in Lagos Mainland, remains largely unoccupied. The sprawling Market complex looks forlorn, and has only few rented shops. The desolation of the market is starkly opposite to the formerly bustling down-market that once stood there, but brought down by a 2004 fire incident. However, outside the new edifice, life is in full swing.
On the western flank of the Tejuosho Market is a panoply of wares lining the rail tracks and, yet, opposite the complex are traders hawking their goods in trays set up on wooden stools, sheltered by giant umbrellas. The traders are not the only threats to the new Market, there are also multiple multi-story shopping centres along the entire length of the Tejuosho Market, and by its sides.
Everywhere, but in the new market complex, are shuffling feet of sellers and buyers.
Newsbreak.Ng spoke to some traders, who put down the seeming desertion of the Market by prospective occupants to its huge rental.
Ope Alabi, 26, hair wigs seller, said, “It’s a good market and I like the way it has been modernized, but the rent is too high. Government should bring down the prices of shops so that they can have more customers.”
Kally Ekeada, a fabric seller, also knocked the Lagos State Government, which concessioned the Market under a public-private partnership arrangement.
“government isn’t working according to its plans. We need them to reduce the shop rents. I pay N15,000 per month for this small space and I have to pay my rent whether I make enough sales or not. The street traders are not ready to pay for shops in the complex because they said the rent is too high and at the same time preventing customers from patronising traders inside the complex,” he said.
The parallel markets, mostly run by traders displaced from the then burned-down Tejuosho Market, is not a worry exclusive to Ekeada, but also a trader, who identified herself only as Mama Emmanuel.
“I have been selling jewellery in this market for over a year, so far, my market has not been doing so well. Most of the shops close to mine are locked and the shops are too enclosed. Customers turn away because they don’t have enough options to select from,” she said. The worried trader believes sale of similar wares outside the complex should be banned.
55-year-old Mrs Williams can’t be more worried, as she complains of running at a loss.
“I’ve been running at a loss since I rented the shop, I sell soft drinks but I have added pure water to it, because sales have been very bad. My shop is at a corner, so most people don’t even know I sell anything here. The complex is badly constructed and customers are not aware of some of the businesses we operate here,” she stated.
Not done, Mrs. Williams complained of epileptic power supply to traders, saying she always buy iced blocks to keep her soft drinks chilled.
However, Kunle Adeyoyin, acting spokesperson for the Tejuosho Market management, denies the allegation of poor power supply to the complex.
“We ensure there is steady electricity supply for 48 to 72hrs while bills are highly subsidized. The facility runs on diesel generator and the occupants are not billed for it,” Adedoyin said.
Adedoyin also mentioned a raft of measures to create awareness, including a partnership with First Bank Plc for television adverts.
How much exactly does a shop cost in Tejuosho Market?
Damilola Ilugbaro, a sales executive for the Tejuosho Property and Development Company Limited, says the “rents based on size range from N65,625 per month (one year rent) to N41,626 per month (five-year rent); outright purchase ranges from N6,966,000 per square metre to N31,992,000 per square metre.”