“The Poor Also Must Live!” - Market Demolition, Gentrification and the Quest for Survival in Lagos State.

This survey was conducted by the Federation of Informal Workers’ Organizations of Nigeria (FIWON), which represents the interests of poor traders and other informal workers, and with the support of the Heinrich Boell Stiftung Foundation. The goal was to gain insights into the recent upsurge in demolition of informal housing, markets, and production clusters in Lagos as part of the programme of the state government to turn Lagos into a ‘mega city’ within the context of a larger project by the HBF: Integration of the Informal Sector into the Economic Policy Framework of Lagos. The focus however was on the traditional open markets, which typically accommodate mostly women dealing in foodstuff, household utensils, cosmetics, toys, clothing materials, building materials, office stationery, and light peripherals. The study also tried to look at the validity of the promise to accommodate displaced traders in new ‘ultra-modern’ shopping malls built in place of the destroyed traditional markets. These ‘ultra-modern’ markets come with better facilities complete with municipal services such as parking lots, toilets, running water, and electricity, facilities that are often lacking or are very inadequate in the open traditional markets. Finally, the study probes into the overall effects of this development on the livelihoods and general well-being of the traders involved.

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