By Canoe and Speedboat: The Recent Expansion of the Ìlàjẹ Fishing Trade


Competition has remained a significant feature of trade, particularly in regions with diverse social groups like the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. This article examines the expansion of trade among the Ìlàjẹ communities of Ondo State in the coastal area of Yorùbáland, which to the best of our knowledge has not been documented. Historical method of data collection and analysis were employed in the study. These include primary and secondary sources. The primary sources are mainly comprised of interviews of key informants and participants’ observations. The secondary sources consist of journal articles and texts. The results were analyzed qualitatively.

The growth in coastal trade in the Ìlàjẹ area from 2010 onwards was largely due to the construction of new roads along the coast, which linked Ìlàjẹ to the wider road network. Between 2009 and 2013, new trading routes emerged along the road from Igbokoda to Araromi via Atijere on the western side to Ògun and Lagos state, passing through towns like Ipárè, Oko-Ńlá, Obinehin, Etíkàn, Erékè, and Àbòtó. Another route linked Igbokoda with Òde-Ùgbò and Ùgbò-Ńlá coastal market in the east. As traders and goods came into Ìlàjẹ from various parts of Nigeria, new markets sprang up to facilitate the exchange of upland goods for fish products. The construction of new roads also encouraged social and economic development by bringing into the area goods and commodities hitherto not transportable on water, such as ‘modern’ building materials. However, far from reducing water-based activity, the overall increase in trade has also contributed to an increase of water-based traffic, especially for fishing.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Kayọde Joseph Onipede


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