By Idris Olukoya
One week ahead of Sallah celebrations, Epe in Lagos State is already agog with revellers besieging foods and drinks stalls located in livestock markets to catch fun.
A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) who went round the town on Tuesday reports that merriments were most noticeable at the Oke-Oyinbo livestock market.
Many residents and visitors were seen in groups at makeshift kiosks specially carved out at the livestock market where they revelled on delicacies and drinks and danced to assorted types of music.
Mrs Victoria Kalejaye, who sells drinks and pepper soup at one of the kiosks, told NAN that the merrymaking had become an annual event and that it was her third year of making brisk business at the arena.
Kalejaye said that traders who sold items in the area during the festival made more money and sold more goods.
“People come from different parts of the community and beyond to have fun in that area and we enjoy huge patronage,’’ she said.
Kalejaye added that revellers, disc jockeys, dancers, musicians besiege the market annually to catch fun at the approach of Sallah.
Mr Ibunkun Akala, a clothes seller said it had become a win-win situation for traders and the local government council as traders made more money during festival period.
He explained that traders enjoyed higher patronage while the local government council made extra income by charging N2,500 per square meter of space used by the vendors for two weeks of celebrations.
“I pay for four spaces which amount to N10,000. I have been enjoying good sales as fun lovers’ buy clothes for the celebration of the festival.
“This is my fifth year of coming to sell clothing materials in this place,’’ Akala said.
Another food vendor, Mrs Labake Ayedun, who sells snacks like “Shawarma’’ and cocktails at the market said her bank deposits had been spiralling in the last one week.
Ayedun said she enjoyed higher level of patronage in 2021 compared to what obtained in 2020.
“In spite of the economic situation, people still come out in large numbers to have fun and enjoy themselves.
“Fun seekers enjoy 24hours fun here as all it takes to have fun has been provided for in this location.
“We do enjoy the patronage of the livestock sellers too because they buy food and drinks from us every day,’’ she said.
An Epe youth, Mr Bode Ogunniyi, also confirmed that apart from traders and the local government council, youths who served as intermediary between livestock sellers and patrons were also making good money.
“The government collects huge money from a large number of vendors and we the youths collect money from those who buy livestock for the support given to them while buying cows and rams.
“Several avenues have been created for the government and the youths to make money yearly through this channel,’’ Ogunniyi said.
Ogunniyi, however, appealed to security agencies to rise to their responsibility to ensure adequate protection of lives during and after the festival. (NAN)