There are several markets all over Nigeria. Markets, which are a fundamental feature of every nation is known to attract various people. People come for different reasons such as the selling and buying of products or goods such as foodstuff and livestock; some come to offer various forms of services like helping you to carry your heavy items such as the wheelbarrow pushers, who are common in the busiest markets in Nigeria. Everyone depends on the market for one reason or the other ranging from household items (items needed at home) to academic items (items needed at school) as well as professional items (items needed at work).
Although there are over a thousand markets in Nigeria, there are some markets that are considered the busiest markets in Nigeria. There is always a lot of activity going on in such markets and a lot of people also come to the markets for various reasons. Below are 12 of the busiest markets in Nigeria you might have heard of:
1. Onitsha Market, Anambra State
Onitsha market, located in Anambra state is one of the busiest markets in Nigeria. Although it appears to be populated by the Ibos, it is a market open to everyone from every part of the world, not just from Nigeria.
In the 1950s, the market was popular for a type of literature named after it – Onitsha Market Literature. In fact, this form of literature is said to generate the growth and interest in Nigerian literature. The literature boasts of emerging writers who told stories or passed knowledge/information across to other people.
Currently, Onitsha market is renowned for the sales of second-hand clothes (popularly called okrika) often imported into the country, and also for the sales of other sundry items that meet the needs of the masses.
It is a hub for importers and on average about 6 – 20 consignments of 40 tonnes of goods annually. The imported products include jewellery, clothing, household, industrial and office items. While the market is governed by one of the most respected trader’s associations in Nigeria, the Onitsha Market Traders Association (OMATA), the market is secured by the Onitsha Main Market Vigilante Services supported by the Nigeria Police Force.
2. Bodija Food Market, Ibadan
This is one of the most popular and reputable markets in Ibadan. Located in Bodija, which is a district in Ibadan North Local Government, Oyo state, it is known for the enormous availability of fresh and dried food products. Every week, over a hundred trucks and trailers travel all the way from the northern part of Nigeria to deliver products in Bodija market. Such products include Groundnuts, Elubo, dried Maize, dried Fish, Beans, Rice, Garri, Dried Meat, Yams, Pepper, Tomatoes, Fruits, food ingredients and all sorts of food items you may need. It is also known for the sale and distribution of cattle and livestock. Since the market is situated close to the Oyo-Ogbomoso-Ilorin interstate roadway, it is easy for people coming from the north to access the market.
Established in October 1987, the market is an open-air space filled with stalls and some people just selling in some available open corners. Different food items and other products usually have their own sections of the stalls. That is, there are different sections for you to go to get what you want.
3. Ariaria International Market, Abia
Ariaria international market was established in the 1970s after a fire incident occurred in Ekeoha Market in Aba. Popularly known as the “China of Africa”, Ariaria international market is a hub of various imitations of foreign products made in Nigeria. Interestingly, these locally made products often turn out to be as good as the original foreign products. You can get products ranging from electronics and leather works to fabrics.
4. Idumota Market, Lagos
Located on Lagos Island, this is another major market in Lagos and one of the busiest markets in Nigeria. The market is known to be the hub of Nollywood (as well as Hollywood and Bollywood) movies and the home of entertainment marketing alongside Alaba market. There are numerous local and foreign films available for a very cheap price, although it seems quite a number of them have been pirated.
Regarded as one of the oldest and largest markets in West Africa, Idumota also boasts of a variety of textiles, interior decorations, jewellery, shoes, and bags. Segmented into several sections that are specialised for specific wares, a first timer may get lost in the narrow streets and massive buildings of the market. Peculiar to the market is the presence of many buildings, and quite a number of them are five to six-storey buildings, often serving both commercial and residential purposes. The market is usually open for business as early as 6 am till about 7 pm.
5. Gbagi Market, Ibadan
The gbagi market is known as the centre of cloths dealership in Ibadan and even the southwest of Nigeria. You can get almost any type of clothing material in Gbagi market. Daily, the newest and latest fashion fabrics are offloaded right from textile factories into the market. Individuals, community associations, ethnic groups, and whole villages or towns can buy desired fashion fabrics from Gbagi market and get them customized right from the factory.
6. Computer Village, Lagos
Located in the commercial city of Lagos- Ikeja, this is one of the busiest markets in Nigeria. As the name implies, the market is popular for the immense availability of computer and electronic products. There is hardly anything relating to computer and electronics that you can’t find here. In fact, it is said to be the largest market for computer and electronics in Nigeria.
Here you can get any type of computer or computer products and accessories, electronics, DVDs/Blue-ray discs, mobile phones, iPads, and PCs of any brand from various countries such as the US, China and Japan.
Apart from the products, you can also get the services of computer technicians, software engineers, mobile phone repairers, electronics dealers, computer experts and businessmen in the market.
7. Zaki Biam Yam Market, Benue
This market, which has been in existence for over 50 years is currently the biggest market for yam in West Africa. Over 1.5 million tubers of yam are produced annually in Benue state; therefore it is not surprising that the state has the biggest yam market. The only thing sold in this market is the yam. Located in Sankera axis of Ukum local government area, the market is the major source of yam tubers for Nigerians.
8. Kurmi Market, Kano
Existing since the reign of Mohammed Rumfa in 1463, this is one of the oldest markets in Nigeria. It was established in the 15th century as a centre for trade, built within the Jakara district of the city. The most common products here are sculptures, dyed fabrics, carved stones and woods, beaded jewellery, and woven materials. As a tourist, this is a nice market to visit. You may also get food items and fresh groceries as well as live cattle from the market.
9. Jos Main Market, Plateau State
The market is also known as Jos Terminal Market because it is situated in Terminus, the commercial centre of Jos, the capital of Plateau State. It is both a trading and tourist centre. It is said to be the largest indoor market in West Africa with its ultra-modern architectural design, which makes it easy for customers to get almost anything they want without much trouble or wasting time. There are different sections for food items, fabrics, electronics, souvenirs, and several other desired products.
10. Maiduguri Monday Market
In 1972, plans began towards constructing a modern market for Maiduguri. These plans became achievable after a sad fire incident occurred in 1979, which led to the destruction of the old Maiduguri Monday Market.
The new Maiduguri Monday Market was commissioned in 1985 in the centre of Maiduguri metropolis. It is nicknamed the mother of markets in the northeast region because of the active business activities going on there. Somehow, this market has been able to withstand attacks from the Boko Haram terrorists.
11. Oil Mill Market, Port-Harcourt
The Oil Mill market was formerly regarded as the Wednesday or Midweek market, open only on Wednesdays when it came into existence in Rumukwrushi, Port Harcourt after the Nigerian civil war. However, over time, the market has grown into a large main market. It is now open to people every day. Although you can get almost every product you need form this market, it is reputable for local food items.
12. Abubakar Gumi Central Market, Kaduna
The market is also referred to as the Kaduna central market. It is the hub of various types of trading products which include foodstuffs, fabric, livestock and a lot of other items. The market is designed with various sections for specific items. There is a section for the sale and purchase of perishable foodstuff like pepper, tomatoes, onions among others food items in that category. There is also the section for grain products, fabric, cooking items and many others. The market opens between 8 am & 9 am and closes by 6 pm. There are security operatives around to ensure the security of people and products in the market.