By Uzah Ephraim Oryiman

In a time as unprecedented as it is, where on earth would you find someone giving out food and other basic commodities for free? For People are surviving on the fridges of hope. “A day at a time” has become a clichéd phrase where its meaning cannot be overemphasized. Indeed, to survive in Nigeria at this present disposition, is to take it a day at a time.

Free market as the name implies is a market where people (from far and near) are given food and other basic commodities for free. It is an annual market, usually convened in December of every year.

The convener in the person of pastor Blessing Ogbonnah would give the ideal reason behind such market. In her words, the free market is no means to showcase plenty or exorbitant wealth. It is a way of giving back to the host community of the environs where the church she pastors is located.

As a means of maintaining their dignity, a legal tender for the swift purchase of commodity in the market is provided. This legal tender has come in the form of dummy mint dollar and naira. On the mint dollar and naira are the faces of the president and senior pastor of Champion Faith Assembly Nation, Apostle God`spower Udjor, PhD, his wife and pastors in Champion Faith Assembly, Kaduna.

These mint monies are the only purchasing power in this market.

With these monies the buyers tend to maintain their dignity in the course of the sales. Thus, humans in troops come with great expectation. Some would even conquer the distance of more than 50kilometer to be partakers in this annual market.

Although, the distribution of the money for transaction begins in November, it is in December that the exercise gains momentum. As the date draws close and the clock clicks the days away, unfamiliar faces become familiar faces in the quest to gather money to possess the will to buy anything of their want. In this period, there is usually an upturn of turn ups in the number of persons that attend the church services. While to them, their reason of being in the church is to get access to the currency, to the convener, this is a means to reaching out to souls.

Commodities for sales include: satellite dishes, phones and their accessories, wigs, rice, chicken meat, beef, pork, make up kits, tomatoes, potatoes, corn, semovita and other varieties the want of time would permit their mention.

There are restaurants to provide cooked food for those who want to buy cooked food.

And a salon to dress or redress worn out looks or unkempt hair.

Reaching out to people is not a new thing for pastor Blessing Ogbonnah nay her followers. And the free market is not the only means she has reached humanity. She has distributed fuel to motorcyclist and other commercial vehicle owners. Such gestures have been highly recognized and awards have followed. This is not the reason these gestures have been embarked on. I am sure to say this!

Onlookers watch as bags of rice are being offloaded from the truck.

The budget for the target participators was estimated around 6000 people. This reminds the writer of the biblical story of how Jesus fed 5000 people with five loaves of bread and two fishes. For a generation that need to see to believe, here is the chief practice of what our faith depends on- love and charity!

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About the author

Uzah Ephraim Oryiman teaches English and Literature at Harmony International College Kaduna, Kaduna State. His play THE HERBS unpublished has been staged in 2017 by Shinning stars Dance and Drama troupe Lapai, Niger state and in 2018 by Naseldram- English Department Drama club at IBB University,Lapai, Niger state. His poems have appeared in Ebedi International Magazine and other sites and blogs.

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