Shasha market: How Akure biggest market was modelled after Mile-12 market

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An aerial view of Shasha market.

Arguably the fastest growing market within Akure metropolis, Shasha does not only take pride as a one-point shopping centre, it is also a community where people worship, live and go to school.

A 12-man team led by the present Secretary-General of the community, Alhaji Aminu Jubril, conceptualised the dream of creating a market hub in 2004 and followed up the dream until the 29th of May, 2008 when business activities started on a 21 acres landmass that has now become a centre of attraction.

The aim was to supply residents and surrounding neighbours with food from the northern part of the country.


As far as an average resident of Akure is concerned, Shasha market translates to Hausa market but this could be wrong.

An inquiry into the etymology of the word "Shasha" reveals a modification of a Yoruba word, esha, used to describe a spoilt tomato-better put as "esha tomato".

Removing the "e" and duplicating "sha" gives a name that every household can relate with- Shasha.

If you desire fresh foods in different varieties-onions, tomatoes and other perishable food items- and at a cheaper Price, Shasha is just the place you can readily satisfy this need.

Ever traveled through the Owo axis into Akure? You probably must have captured a glimpse of people in their hundreds around an area with trailers and trucks parked off the express way, all of this just some 3km from the Akure airport, on the right. You have just seen Shasha market.

While travelling away from Akure, Shasha market is about a kilometer from the popular Benin Motor park, just on the left.

From where to Shasha?

After starting a market at the present day Isikan in Akure some forty years ago, the locality was no longer conducive for business as the city was growing.

The sellers, bulk of whom were Hausas, were relocated to Adedeji market, close to the palace of the Deji of Akure.

The market grew bigger, so was the city. Just after spending about eight years, congestion took over the area with parked trailers and trucks making movement almost impossible.

The market was again moved to Iloro at Okearo, behind the 'B' Division police station.

The Secretary-General recalled, "When we were in Akure, most of the places we stayed were rented including our two mosques. Our people rented apartments too but Akure was growing faster.

"While we were in Iloro, our vehicles had problem maneuvering into the market while coming from the north. Some would have to sleep in Benin garage."

How Adekunle Ajasin came to rescue

Twelve years of selling at Iloro market was not convenient for both the sellers and buyers.

During the years of Chief Adekunle Ajasin as the Governor of Ondo State, between 1979 and 1983, before the carnage, some parts of Araromi, close to the new stadium was provided to house the growing market.

A quarter of the area was given to the Hausa people to settle down.

Blinded by the sentiments of making money and going back home, they could not hold on to what was to become their heritage.

They could have paid as little as N500 to get a land but they refused, with the sole thought that they had not come to stay.

The Secretary-General, however, blamed two things for this sentiment; the first was lack of education, the second was lack of a strong faith.

They were quickly overtaken by people who knew the value of land which led to the incursion that left them with just a mosque and a graveyard as possessions.

"As we speak, today, the only things we have on the land Baba Ajasin gave us are our mosque and burial ground. Even the burial ground got filled, Alhaji Aminu said… "Some times when we wanted to bury a body, we would stumble on decaying and decomposing bones and this can bring misfortune to the land. That was how we lost that site".

Agagu's support

While still selling around the area, they acquired an eight-plot land at Oba Ile in Akure North Local Government which was to become a cemetery.

Sooner had they buried 20 bodies there than the elders at Oba Ile town wrote a petition to the government.

The elders that while we are doing our business in Akure, "we brought 'dead bodies' to give to them. They said no way!"

The search for a new land to buy began and wide consultations were made until a Chief (Chief Adeniyi) in Oba Ile offered to sell his land.

He (Chief Adeniyi) sold the land knowing that if the hausas settled there doing business, it would develop the town.

Without having a cash amount of the selling price, N10m, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed for the payment of half a million naira every month.

Alhaji Aminu also recalled writing a letter to the then Governor of the State, Dr. Olusegun Agagu in 2005, seeking a meeting with him.

The meeting was held at the cocoa conference hall of the Governor's office where the governor was hinted about the plans to have a community that would house a market, a mosque and residential area; a land outskirt the city had also been acquired.

Delighted at the plans by non-indigenes to develop the State, Dr. Agagu beckoned on the commissioner for works, Dr. Adewale and told him, "Dr. Adewale these are my people".

The commissioner, on the order of the governor, moved to the site for inspection after which clearing of the 21 acres land began before business activities started in the market in 2008.

Built after mile 12

While still in the growing process of becoming a mega market, Alhaji Aminu reveals that the market runs with the vision of becoming like Mile 12 market which is the largest food market in Lagos.

"When we wanted to buy the land, there was a vision. The vision was to build it after mile 12 in Lagos which was built in 1976.

"One of my uncles was part of the people who initiated mile 12. I had gone to spend the holiday in his place when he told me that they were given a place and planning to clear it. I was very young then.

When I visited Lagos about five years after, I was surprised at what I saw. I saw that the place had become the centre of Ketu.

I carried that dream all along. I was determined that one day if we have that opportunity, we would put up something like that here".

Should the Shasha community continue to grow at this pace and with better facilities, then, the vision to build a world-class market is just too near to become a reality.

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