Traders and those residing close to the Kudirat Abiola Square, popularly called Evans Square, say they have been living in fear as the sports facility has become hemp smokers’ comfort zone.
The square, which is located opposite the Mainland Central Mosque on Simpson Street, beside Old Yaba Road, along McCullum Street and Carter Street, in the Mainland Local Council Development Area of Lagos State, is an age-long recreational and social centre for the people of Ebute Metta and its environs.
Among the football stars discovered at the place were the late national team stars Haruna Ilerika, Kunle Awesu and Muda Lawal. Others are Yisa Sofoluwe, Ganiyu Shittu, Idris Babatunde, Benjamin Nayin and Shanghai Shenhua’s Obafemi Martins.
It has a football pitch and also houses the Folawewo Boxing Club. The facility is a bride courted by many because of its location and accessibility. It is also a revenue generator for the state government.
Over the years, the square has been known as a melting point for people of varied backgrounds and intents. But at a point, it was in total neglect prompting its redevelopment by the defunct Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials in 2004.
On a daily basis, schoolchildren and adults play football there. During one of the visits to the ground by our correspondent, pupils of a nearby school were having their weekly sporting activities at the square.
Shofoluwe described the days he played at the Evans Square as glorious. He said, “It was a beauty to D back then. We were just young men who had no idea what the future holds and we just took joy in playing football on the pitch then.
“Evans Square wasn’t like this back then; it was really different and not comparable at all.