Photo Essay: Inside Market Life in Nigeria

 
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Vendors at the sprawling Balogun market in Lagos, Nigeria, spread out yards of vibrantly-patterned Ankara fabric for customers to browse. Once considered the fabric of the poor, this cotton material has exploded onto the fashion scene, even making the pages of Vogue magazine.  
Credit: Lola Akinmade 
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Moving from car to car, a butcher sells raw meat, laid out on a folded cardboard box, to motorists and passersby.  
Credit: Lola Akinmade 
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Located on the Lekki Peninsula, separated from Lagos by a lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean, Jakande market is known for its overwhelming array of original artwork sold by the artists themselves. You can purchase handmade jewelry, wood carvings, and mounted paintings in the market's labyrinth of covered stands.  
Credit: Lola Akinmade 
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Nigerians still prefer to do their daily shopping at open markets, foregoing the comfort of supermarkets in favor of haggling down prices with market vendors.  
Credit: Lola Akinmade 
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A hawker carries a plastic bowl filled with cows' legs atop her head—a popular strategy for getting goods from one place to another in Nigeria.  
Credit: Lola Akinmade 
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A market woman lays out bunches of ripe yellow plantains, a staple of the Nigerian diet.  
Credit: Lola Akinmade 
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Most market stalls at Jakande are manned by the artisan, making it easy to ask questions, haggle, or seek their interpretation of a specific piece. Here a basket weaver shows off his craft along the narrow market alley.  
Credit: Lola Akinmade 
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Yellow rickshaws called keke maruwa are just one of the many ways to move around densely populated Lagos. The city's residents number a massive 15 million, which is 10 percent of Nigeria's total population.  
Credit: Lola Akinmade 
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A Hausa (the largest ethnic group in Nigeria) vendor sells fresh tomatoes by the basket at Oke Arin market, a more western-style market that features grocery items most commonly sold in bulk. Locals often come here to stock up on food that will stay fresh for an extended period of time, as well as daily commodities such as toothpaste and clothing.  
Credit: Lola Akinmade 
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Balancing sewing machines on their shoulders, male tailors trek for miles, clicking their metal scissors loudly to alert potential customers that they are nearby.  
Credit: Lola Akinmade 
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Inside the market, fruit vendors roam about carrying trays of oranges, mangoes, and other seasonal crops.  
Credit: Lola Akinmade 
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A fisherwoman at the tiny village of Ebute Lekki sorts fish by size and type before presenting them to waiting customers.  
Credit: Lola Akinmade 
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In the heart of Lagos, Jankara market is the largest in the city and sells just about everything. It is unique for its selection of herbs, local medicines, and juju potions and powders, enticing herbalists and witchdoctors to do their shopping here.  
Credit: Lola Akinmade 
 
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