✕ CLOSE Online Special City News Entrepreneurship Environment Factcheck Everything Woman Home Front Islamic Forum Life Xtra Property Travel & Leisure Viewpoint Vox Pop Women In Business Art and Ideas Bookshelf Labour Law Letters

Inside Ejirin: A Lagos community living on past glory

Ejirin might not be prominent on the map of the country, but it has a unique place in the development history of Nigeria. Laying about…

Ejirin might not be prominent on the map of the country, but it has a unique place in the development history of Nigeria. Laying about 49.1 kilometres between Ijebu-Ode and Epe, it was a bounteous trading hub of the old Lagos colony.
Infact, it remains one of Nigeria’s prominent and historical towns. As a result of its endowments, the colonialists established their business empires which impacted positively on the economic life of the people.
Professor Akeem Danmole of the Department of History and International Relations Lagos State University, Ojo, recounted that in the 19th century, while Lagos was noted for its slave trade exit, Ejirin was noted for trading.
Because of its proximity to the lagoon, Ejirin enjoyed a tremendous influence in both trade and commerce. As such many Locked-up shops were constructed there in 1833. They were later renovated between 1950 and 1955 due to more trade volume.
During its economic boom, a Post Office and Postmaster-General quarters claimed to be the first in the country, were established in 1810 while a jetty was constructed around 1830.
But the story of the once burbling town, changed shortly after the British built the Apapa Port in Lagos and established a railway line which did not connect Ejirin. Economic activities were diverted to Lagos and other routes and business life collapsed. Ejirin is now dotted with many abandoned and dilapidating historical infrastructure, which once made the town a destination of choice and a trailblazer in many fronts.
The jetty is a sorry site with metal re-enforcement very rusty and locals carrying out fishing activities in the place. The fishermen complained of low activity due to the low water level. Mrs. Esther Jayeola, who also fish at the jetty told Daily Trust on Sunday that there is better catch when the rainy session is at its peak and the water level is high.
The woman also spoke on how things were in the past. “In the 1960s white men with their big ships used to come to this place but it is not so any longer. In the past they used to bring different type of goods into the country through this place, but all that has changed,” she said.
Also the Vice Chairman of the Ejirin Fishermen Association, Mathias Ogungba, lamented that most young men in the town have resorted to other means to make money. He said many of them now work as commercial motorcyclists, some as artisans while others engage in all forms of menial jobs due to low activities at the jetty.
On the dilapidated condition of the jetty, he said the association wants government to revive it to “atleast make it operational, even for historical references”.
Daily Trust on Sunday observed that the concrete pavement of the ticketing house which was constructed barely 10 years ago to promote economic activities of the town, is now used for drying grains.
Ejirin also had a big market, where traders from far and near came for business. The market was so prominent that the legendry high-life musician turn evangelist, Ebenezer Obey sang about the gathering at the market in one of his albums.
A resident of the town, Sunday Ojo, lamented that the market is now a shadow of itself as only a few people now patronise it.
The market with its colonial architectural design-stall, bore signs that a huge volume of trade once took place in that area.
Another resident of the town, Ayodele James said: “The stores are as old as the big jetty. I cannot say when they were built but the story I was told by my father was that the British colonialists built the stores when they settled in Ejirin. They are still in use now.”
At the post office which is still in operation, it was gathered that only two workers of the Nigeria Postal Service are deployed to the place. Inside the office were some old machines used during the colonial era.One of the workers told Daily Trust on Sunday that the post office is serving 21 villages and towns. The NIPOST workers called on the Federal Government to turn the post office into a museum.
Traces of colonial era abound in the town with bungalows for the Britons and their families and customary courts among others.
At the oldest customary courts in the town, two women who are workers in the court were seen sitting in the court room. The outer part of the court building still maintains its old shape, but some rehabilitation works like painting have been carried out.
The women who did not give their names said the court only sits on Thursdays.
“Most of the issue we handle here are marital issues. We only sit on Thursdays while we receive complaints on other days of the week,” one of the women said. 

%d bloggers like this: