Situated in the Asokoro District of the FCT, the Mammy market is a quintessential destination for fun seekers and those in search of good food…
Godwin Tsa, Abuja
On December 31, 2010, there were tears, pain and agony as relatives wailed and mourned the death of their beloved ones. They were victims of a bomb explosion at the popular Mammy Market located at the foot of the Mogadishu Cantonment, Abuja.
Today, eight years after the tragic incident that claimed several lives and property, the mournful looks, tears and pain have all been washed away paving the way for lingering smiles and magnetic laughter, as fun seekers congregated to celebrate
the Christmas and New Year. Formerly called Abacha Barracks, before its name was changed to Mogadishu Cantonment by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the barracks has one of the famous thriving mammy markets in Abuja. The word, Mammy Market, was coined from mini-market, and refers to a cluster of relaxation joints in military and paramilitary formations.
Situated in the Asokoro District of the FCT, the Mammy market is a quintessential destination for fun seekers and those in search of good food, pepper soup, fish and meat barbecue and other forms of delicacies.
When Daily Sun visited the place during the yuletide, there were noticeable changes at the busy market, including tight security measures put in place apparently to forestall any re-occurrence of security breach and attacks. For instance, a spacey car park with fence and security post has been constructed and mounted by armed soldiers.
Besides, the entire market is now fenced leaving out small outlets and a main entrance, which is equally manned by armed soldiers who conduct regular checks on people going into the market. Inside the belly of the market is a whole other experience.
About 40 fish sellers are arranged in a circle with bars facing the circle of fish sellers. One unique feature at the market is that these fishmongers do not sell raw fish, however, they sell the best croaker and butterfish for direct grilling and eating right there.
As you walk around the circle, you are confronted with a fierce rivalry between fish grillers, each one claiming their fish is the freshest, largest, and most succulent. In addition to fish, they offer chicken, chips, and a spicy pep- per sauce that will curl your toes. All the fishmongers are women such as Faith Fish stand; Mad- dam Grace; Madam Hannah; Godiya Fish and Egede Mama Miracle Fish.
Talking with the fish vendors was fun. Each fishmonger sells 10 to 20 grilled fish in a night, 500 to 1,000 big croakers per day. It would not take much more than the temptation of fresh fish, grilled to tasty perfection for you to be a victim.
The croaker I settled down with was so amazingly succulent. Unlike East African tilapia, usually deep-fried to hard, chewy crisp, the West African grilled croaker was perfection. Eating with my hands, the meat fell off the fish bones, with every taste a mouthful of aquatic majesty. Added to it the cooked potato chips (fries) and a bottle of food drink, I was in real heaven.
The irritating aspect of the market came in the form of endless hordes of hawkers looking to sell all manners of knick-knacks and the likes, mostly useless junks. Other vendors sold music, and several bands circulated, demanding payment to stop playing their music in your face as you tried to eat.
The bars are constructed in such a way that they encircled the fish stands with a raised concrete curb barrier that crushed my toes several times in the darkness. To complete the fun, there is a sport arena at the market where table tennis and snooker games are played.