By Samuel Oyadongha
SANGANA—SEVERAL decades after the ancient market at the coastal settlement of Sagana, Brass Local Government Area, East senatorial district, Bayelsa State, where people traded by barter between the 60s and 70s, was washed away by the surging sea, the villagers are thrilled by the plan of the local government council to recreate the marketplace.
Not many took the council seriously when it embarked on reconstruction of the marketplace, apparently thinking that it will be one of those abandoned projects, but with the structure at 99 per cent completion, flabbergasted indigenes are edgily looking forward to the take-off of the market once again.
Niger Delta Voice learned that Sangana, located on the Atlantic fringe, was host to one of the few surviving trading posts on the West African coast and was famous, as people came from far and wide in the sixties and seventies with goods for swap.
Encomiums on chair
But, the unbecoming happened when the rampaging sea swallowed the market. An indigene of the community, Daudu Owolo, who expressed gratitude to the council chair for his initiative, said the gesture would help boost commerce in the area.
“This market is the first ever modern market that we have ever had since 1960,” he said.
Another indigene, Mrs. Ayebaemi, asserted: “We are grateful to the council chairman for his foresight in resuscitating our market. We are looking forward to the day when people from far and near will start trooping in and out of our community for business.”
For Toinpre Festus, the new market is a dream come true for the people. He said: “We are very happy to see our market again after many years of waiting.”
Why we embarked on project – LG boss
Chairman of the council, Hon Bello, during a visit to the project site, said work on the reconstruction of the ancient market was part of his administration ‘s plan to touch the lives of the rural people, as well as boost the revenue of the council in the wake of the dwindling allocation from the federation account.
Going down memory lane, he stated: “Bayelsa State used to have a place called Lobia market, Lobia is a community in Southern Ijaw local government council, while there is another market in Sangana, Brass, where people from Onitsha, Sapele, Warri and Benin come to trade in different kind of wares.
“Today, those markets have been washed off by erosion. They were among the largest markets where people come to buy and sell through barter.
Between revenue and tradition
“But when I got into office, I thought it wise that that market should come back to boost our Internally Generated Revenue. History indicates it that it is one of the largest markets and has sustained the people in Sangana.
“We started with 54 stores – so it can be in existence, so people from all over the world can come as well as people from Ogbia, (they are into plantain farming), Southern Ijaw (they are into cassava farming) and at the end of the day, the people from Brass who are fishermen will come to the market. When you take your cassava and plantain to Sangana market, you find that they will do trade by barter, under the sun and rain with their fish.
“Today, we have structures at the market, when the place is put into use, we will collect N2, 000 per store, and these 54 will give us N108, 000 per day for 30 days in a month. As I speak, the market is 99 per cent completed and we are going to put it in use within the festive period. It will be officially in use in December,” he said excitedly.
While thanking the Seriake Dickson- led administration for its support, the council chairman said the market blocks would be named after strong personalities with good intention for the state like the first executive governor, late Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, Henry Seriake Dickson, Gboribiogha John Jonah, the deputy governor among others.