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Various versions of the origin of Nnewi

Post by Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi
in History
on 29 September 2015

There have been various contradictory and controversial versions about the origin and initial migrations of the founding fathers o fthe present Nnewi Town.

The Four Quarters As The  Progenitor's Version
Some hold the opinion that the four  quarters of Nnewi were  the sons of the  man  Nnewi   in  order of seniority.   According to  Professor  Awolalu, Otolo, Uruagu, Umudim and Nnewichi were made out of chalk(Nzu) inside a pot  which Chukwu (God) gave to the goddess Edo. According to him, after Chukwu had made them in their order of seniority and  breathed His  breath into them, the goddess Edo told  them,

I am the mother of you all, Nnewi and the land on which you  are   walking  is  Ana-Edo  -   that   is  my  prize  from Chukwu  because  the  Nzu  (chalk)   with   which   you  are made and with which the land is made is special privilege and gift from  Chukwu".

According to him when these four sons ofNnewi, Otolo, Uruagu, Umudim and Nnewichi grew up" they went to Arochukwu and took  four sisters and
married them . The problem with  this  version  is that the. ruling  classes  in Uruagu and Umudim quartersimmigrated much  later into Nnewi  from  Oba and  Ojoto in Idemili Local Govt.   Area" at a.time when Nnewi Town and its monarchy had existed for over two and half centuries: and that both had no historical connection with  Arochukwu. One Isu version had  it that after the death of their father  lkenga, when  his  t\VO sons,   Ezeani Isu  and  his junior brother Nnewi went to consult the Arochukwu oracle in Arochukwu, Nnewi fell in love with an Aro Princess who later became his beloved wife and the mother of QIGBO" the first traditionally crowned Nnewi  king.  Digbo became the father of Otolo.

According to  the  version  recorded  by  0   ae   ·e..   newi   had  four  sons: Otolo. Uruagu.  Urn  dim and  Nnewichi . Although the names represent the present   four   quarters  of Nnewi ..   historically..   they   don't   represent  'theirchronologica   order of seniority as  will be proved later.   n the  concluding words of Okae   -e   imself: "From the  foregoing  it would appear that Nnewi had no conmlon putative ancestor" .

2.2   Ikenga As  T   e Progenitor Verse   n
According to ljezie'. some people maintain that I   enga was the founder
of Nnewi but widely disagree over the origin of  kenga. While some claim
that he was created at   newi ..  some claim that he migrated from a certain
place   which   they   have   forgotten.   According  to   Ajaegbo",   some   trace
Ikenga's original home to Abatete. Theadvocate of Agbaja Abatete origin
of'Ikenga. hold that he was the father ofthe founders ofNnewi, Oraifite and
Ichi  Communities..  all  in Nnewi North Local Government Area, hence the
three communities are being referred to as Agbaja Group ofCommunities.
According to  Bishop  Uzodike   ..   Ikenga came/from  Diu  (Om)  in Ogbaru
Local Government Area. Bishop Uzodike wrote that:
"Nnewi was the son of Ikenga and Ifite, thefirst man and
woman from  Olu  (Oru) town in Ogbaru, Anambra State
to   settle   in   Nnewi   North   Local   Governinent   Area  of
Anambra State.
Although this version mentioned correctly the name of Ikenga who was the
father  of Isu  and  Nnewi,   it   omitted  conspicously,   the   name of Ikenga's
father..   Prince Agbaja ofNri who  came from  Nri to  found Agbaja groups
of towns -   Isu,   Nnewi..   Oraifite and Ichi .
2.3   Digbo of Iduu (Benin) AS'The Progenitor Version
According to another version by ljezie", Digbo who was said to have been
the   progenitor of Nnewi   came  from  Iduu  (Benin).   He  was  said to  have
crossed the Niger with a number..offollowers, arrived first at Oraifite from
where they  moved to  a  place known  as  Oyo,  very  close to  Nkwo Nnewi
Market . It "vas from there that he went out with his followers to occupy the
Various  Versions of The Origins ofNnewi   9
whole Nnewi territory, Digbo later married and established the present fou r
quarters of Nnewi -   Otolo,   Uruagu,   Umudim and Nnewichi.
Of the  nine  major movements of people which  according to  Professor
Onwuejeogwu7,   accounted for  the  distribution of people  in  Igbo  cultural
area, the Iduu (Benin) movement of 18th century across the Niger was  the
last.  It occured at a time when Nnewi and its monarchy of Digbo dynasty
had existed for over two hundred years. It could not therefore have been the
movement that led to the foundation ofNnewi Town named after the father
of Digbo.   Ijezie himself rightly noted that this  tradition  lacks  conclusive
evidence that Digbo was of Benin (Iduu) origin, He argued that even  ifhe
was, that he did not  introduce Benin (Iduu or Edo) culture into Nnewi.   He
concluded that the  traditional political system of Nnewi does  not  embody
Benin (Iduu or   Edo) terminologies and that the  cultural pattern of life at
Nnewi is of Igbo and not Benin origin. The name "Digbo" is an  Igbo name
and not an Edoor Iduu name. This is the main argument against this version,
2.4   Arochukwu Origin As  the Progenitor Version
According to a version by the Late Hon.   Ejike Chidolue'" the probability
ofthe founder ofNnewi being a leader ofagroup oftravellers bound up by
circumstantial   agression   from  the   ancient   town   of  Arochukwu   for   a
purpose, was confirmed by elders and it seemed not far fetched. According
to  him,   the  name of the  founder of Nnewi  most common to  all  elders was
Ikenga, who after living with his family or group, ill-treated them, and some
of them deserted him  and went to different directions now known as  Oba.
Ojoto,   Umuoji,   Ogidi,   Amichi   etc.   According  to  him  the  man  married  a
woman or wornen and begot T'Tnewi, Isu, Oraifite and Ichi. He expalined that
that is why every Ozo titled man in Agbaja or  Anaedo has an  Ikenga as  a
symbol of authority and all the towns have Edo juju in common. The only
problem  in  this   version  is  that there  is  no  historical   evidence that  either
Ikenga, the father ofIsu and Nnewi or Agbaja his father, the founder ofthe
clan,   ever came  into  contact with  the  Arochukwu  people,   but there  was
evidence that Nnewi married an Aro princess who was the mother ofDigbo..
the  first traditionally crowned king  of Nnewi.   Another version from  Ichi
Town, has it that Agbaja came from Arochukwu. According to Nneamaka
10   Various Versions ofThe OriginsofNnewi
. "oral tradition  has  it that a  man  by  name  Agbaja came
from Arochukwu, settled at the present day Otolo, Nnewi
and   later   married   with   the   natives   among   whom  he
settled" 8b.
2.5   Mmaku.ofNdoni In  Rivers State As The Progenitor Version
The  fifth  and  the  most  controversial  version of the  origin of Nnewi,
otherwise  known  as   "the Irvingia  gabonensis   (Ugili)   hypothesis of the
origin ofNnewi" is held by Dr. J.O.   Alutu'" According to this version, the
progenitor of Nnewi came from Ndoni in the River State ofNigeria.  The
man was saidto be called Mmaku. While leaving Ndoni, he was saidto have
taken a peice ofchalk from the shrine ofa local deity called Eze Agana; and
that aftertravelling for about six kilometers, he came to a cluster oflrvingia
gabonensis trees (Odo Ugili) somehow connected with the worship ofEze
Agana. Mmaku was said to have picked one ofthe seeds ofthe trees and to
have   travelled  all   along  with   it,   until   his   arrival   at   Abubo  village   in
Nnewichi,  Nnewi,   (the  author's  own  village)  where  he was   said  to  have
planted it.   The  version maintained that the  name of Eze  Agana deity  of .
Ndoni whose origin was  unknown,   was  later transformed into Eze Duga,
the father ofEzeani, the Nnewi local deity intheauthor's village. The author
buttressed  his   argument   with  his  own  recorded  incantations  to  Ezeani
during the breaking of kola.
"Ezeani Eze Duga!  Ugili Nwa onye Olu"
Ezemewi, son of Eze Duga, Irvingia gabonensis of
a Riverine lad!"
According to this version, Mmaku'later married a woman called Ife-enwe-
ugwu  and begot Ikenga;   Ikenga married a  woman called Ifite  and  begot
Nnewi, Isu,   Ifite and lchi.   .
This version ofthe origin ofNnewi seems to be the most improbable for
the following twelve  reasons:
1..   As already mentioned by Ijezie'" and well known to all the descendants
ofIkenga, the spot where the.progenitor ofNnewi people first stopped
was and is still being called "Oyo" near Nkwo market because there he
depositedthe "Oyo'', an Nri local god oftemperament which he brought
along with him from Nri. Before his death, Ikenga his son., institutedthe
Various Versions ofThe Origins ofNnewi   11
"Agbanano" in front ofthe  Oyo as  a meeting place of four people-
his two sons, Isu and Nnewi and his two brothers, lfite and Ichi.   It is
therefore more logical that the progenitor should deposit his ancestral
god in his first place ofcall and not elsewhere as in the author's village.
2.   The version did not take into account the already accepted patterns-of
migrations oflgbo people and"it did not fit into any ofthe nine historical
movements   in   the   Igbo   cultural   area.   According   to   Professor
Onwuejeogwu11, the movement which led to the foundation ofAgbaja
clan ofwhich Nnewi is a part, was the third Igbo movement known as
theNri movement between 900 and 1910 A.D. Furthermore, there is no
evidence in  Igbo History of migrations from  coastal   Riverine towns
upwards to the  Igbo heartland.
Rather according to  Professor Elizabeth Isichei!",
"What is clear, is that the Igbo heartland repeatedly built
up   levels   of population  pressure  which  the   ecological
environment was unable to sustain, and which from  time
to time gave rise to migrations to other parts of19boland".
Also confirming the  same,. G.I.   Jones'? state that:
"one  can assume an  early dispersion from this  centre to
Nsukka -   Deli highlands  in the  East and an  early drift
southwards to the coast".
3.   The use of the  term  "Olu'  a  derogatory concept for   all   the  Riverine
people which developed in the Igbo mainland inthe eighteenth century
during the era ofslave trade, at a time when Nnewi with its monarchy
, hadexisted for over three centuries, as a theory-base for the foundation
of Nnewi,   is a historical anachronism.
,.   I
According to  Porfessor Isichei'",
"One important conceptual category which seems to have
developed during the era ofslave trade was the distinction
between Igbo and Olu, inland and Riverine. The Olu, with
their well wateredfarms and protein rich diet, despisedthe
Igbofor their food  and water shortages and their role  as
12   Various Versions ofThe Origins ofNnewi
, slave suppliers.   To the hintherland Igbo,   the  !Jlu states,
,with  their  tradition  of origin  from  elsewhere,   were  not
really Igbo at all".
In the words of Professor Henderson':',
"Olu  meant  the   Riverine  or   the  Riverine  derived  slave
dealing kingdom associated peoples; Igbo meant upland
kingship lacking populations".
Commenting later an the lrvingia gabonensis hypothesis origin ofNnewi,
the  late Hon. Ejike Chidolue!", declared:
"In respect oftracing the origin ofNnewi to Ndoni (Olu),
we have nothing in common with Olu people.. The idiosyn-
crasies, industries, customs, traditions, cultures, dialects
and general make-ups  are  very  different and  practically
unrelated". '   '   ,'
It   is  clear therefore that Nnewi   which had  been  in existence since   15th
Century A.D. could not have been founded in the  18th Century A.D. when
the   derogatory  term  "Olu"   came  to  be   applied  to  the  Riverine  people.
According to  Isu  Oral tradition, the term "Olu" was coined out at  Isu and
Nnewi and given to the  descendants of Umeji   Ikenga, an  Isu  Prince who
emmigrated from  Isu  in-the  sixteenth  century  and  founded  the  Riverine
towns ofOko, Ishiagu and Ibusa; as will be further explained in chapter five
which will deal with the "great Isu Movement". The Isu oral tradition was
indirectly confirmed byProfessor Hernderson'", whet) he wrote that:
"Some communities in the Eastern uplands like Nnewi did
order their"social  world by  drawing  a  contrast between
  - Igbo and Olu".
4.   There is no linguistic basis for the transformation ofEze Agana which
the author found inNdoni to Eze Duga which is a shortenedformofEze
Duruga,   which Nnewi took away from  the  premises of Eze 'divinity
during  the   division  of inheritance  between  him  and  Isu   his   senior
brother. Morever, both Eze; Eze Duga, and Ezemewi are still regarded
as  king  makers at Nnewi and: not the  fiery  gods of vengeance as  Eze
Agana ofNdoni whose origin was unknown, as the author explained in
Various Versions ofThe Origins ofNnewi   13
his note 5 page 101 ofthe third edition ofhis book. In Nnewi the origin
ofEze, Eze Duga, and Ezemesi are well known as will be explained in
Chapter 3.6.3 dealing with the origin of Eze Umu Nnewi (Ezemewi).
5.   The author left out a very essential part ofthe invocation and incanta-
tions  to Ezemewi and  recorded only:
"Ezemewi   Eze  Duga,   Ugili  Nwa onye  Olu!"   (Ezemewi,   son  of Eze
Duga, Irvingia gabonensis ofa Riverine lad) which is almost ambigu-
ous.   The incantations to Ezemewi that is more common says:
"Ezemewi Eze Duga!   Ugili,  Oli nwa onye  Olu!."18 (Ezemewi, the  son
of Eze  Duga,   Irvingia gabonensis,   the  eater/devourer of a  Riverine
lad!" The phrase oli (eater/devourer of) was conspicously left out in the
version.   The full historical and  religious  meaning and implications of
the incantation to Ezemewi will be well explained in Chapter 3 ofthis
6.   There are  confusions of names  in the version.   Known  feminine  name
was used for a man and known masculine name was used for a woman.
Mmaku, the wife ofPrince Agbaja ofNri, who founded Agbaja clan of
which Nnewi is a part, was  said to be a man from Ndoni   in the Rivers
State, whereas Ifite, the second son ofAgbaja was saidto have been the
wife ofIkenga (the first son ofAgbaja) and to have had a son for Ikenga,
who  was   also  named  Ifite,   the  same  name  as   his  mother.   Since  the
foundation of Agbaja clan,  there has been no trace of the name ofany
other man called Mrna-Aku; and there has never been the trace of any
other woman called Ifite. lfite has always been a masculine name while
Mma-aku has always been a feminine name. It is like that in the version
collected by the author, Mmaku (who might possibly have come from
Ndoni) the wife ofAgbaja, the founder ofthe clan, was mistaken for her
7.   Ichi, the last son ofAgbaja, the founder ofthe clan had always been and
is still  being  referred to as Ichi Agbaja and never Ichi Mmaku or Ichi
8.   It was  Eze Nri from Nri , the ancestral home ofthe founder ofthe clan
who used to come to Nnewi for the purification ofabominations (Ikpu
14   Various Versions of TheOrigins ofNnewi
alu) , abolition oftaboos and ratification of laws and never the king of
Ndoni.   Even, the author himselfnoted this fact while discussing about
taboos in Chapter  12 page 307 of the third edition of his  book!",
where  he stated that:
"A lot of these laws  lacking in judiciousness were  abro-
gated in the  1930s. Laws were enacted and annulled at the
meeting of the elders  and during the subsequent visits of
the NRI KING, (emphasis mine) he is asked to gi ve formal
ratification  to   them.   The   latest   law  annulled  was   that
forbidding oxen from  eating oil plam  nuts".
9.   The descendants ofAgbaja -   Isu, Nnewi,   Oraifite and Ichi used to go
on  annual  pilgrimage to  Nri   to  pay  homage to  Eze Nri   but   never   to
Ndoni to pay homage to Ndoni 's king. According to Isu historians, Isu,
the  first   son of Ikenga, the  first   of Agbaja,   used  to  lead  the  Agbaja
pilgrims  into Nri   and  during such  pilgrimages, he used to  receive  on
their behalf from the  Eze Nri , blessings bestowed on them  by the Eze
Nri . The blessing called "ANYIM" were said to be contained in an oval
basket.   The blessings  were  being  distributed  to them  at   Isu  on  their
return.  In about 1900, Major A.G. Leonard", confirmed in his book.
The   Lower Niger And Its   People, that  Nnewi   was   among  the  Igbo
communities that were going  on annual pilgrimage to pay  homage to
Eze  Nri.
10.   The   Nnewi   chieftaincy  and   ozo   title   systems   are   replicas   of  Nri
chieftaincy and ozo title systems. The ozo and chieftaincy title names
-   Ezeani , Eze, Dunu , Ume, Dim, and Dala -   are common among-all
Igbo  towns  with Nri   lineage  as  Nnewi.   Riverine chieftaincy and  ozo
. systems are  totally unkown  at Nnewi.
I 1. There is no trace ofthe ofo (staff) ofany man called Mmaku anywhere
in Nnewi , Anaedo or Agbaja but the Ofo  (staff) of the founder of the
clan.. called Ofo Ochichi Agbaja, the highestofo inthe clan, still exists,
and  is today in the custody of the Nnewi  monarch.   It is this  staff that
gives the monarch the sole prerogativeofconferring all Nnewi chieftiancy
title to anyone of his choice.
Various Versions ofThe Origins ofNnewi   15
12.   There is no historical monument or  institution in Nnewi,  Ana-edo or
Agbaja  that   was   named  after  a   man   called  Mmaku,   the   supposed
founder of the  clan,   but the  native court established by  the  Colonial
Administration in  1905 to  serve Nnewi, Ofaifite and Ichi was named
Agbaja Court after the common progenitor of the three towns.
2.6   ': Prince Agbaja of Nri   As Progenitor Version
The sixth version holds  that Agbaja clan of which  Nnewi is a part     ~  
founded by one  Prince Agbaja ofNri.
According to  Emmanuel I. Alutu/" ,
"Tradition holds  that the founder of Nnewi was Agbaja,
son ofEze Nri   (King ofNri) in Agukwu, Njikoka Local
Govt.   Area.   He  settled here  in about   12th Century A.D.
and bore Ikenga who bore Isu, Nnewi , Orairite and  Ichi.
Nnewi bore Umunnealam,   Otolo,   Uruagu,   Umudim and
Nnewichi.   When  Umunnealam  the   first   son  of Nnewi
committed incest,   he was   rejected and  driven away,  and
was protected by Umudim.   The other four sons ofNnewi
that   form  the   present  village  groups,   were   very  strong
warriors  with  the   result   that   people  from  far   and  near
migrated   to   them  for   protection   during  the   civil   and
intertown wars rampant in'those days."
Alutu explained that Nnewi became the  name ofthe four villages because
he was the father ofthe village groups. He concluded that Nnewi , Oraifite,
Ichi and other descendants oflkengawho have Edo goddess in common, are
collectively called Ana edo.  The  historical merits  of this  version are:
(i)   It was   the  only version that stated correctly that Agbaja was the
founder of the clan .
(ii)   It was also able to state correctly the place oforigin ofthe founder
of the  clan and  his Royal   status.
(iii)   It was also the only version tostate correctly that Isu was the' first
son of Ikenga and  the senior brother of Nnewi.
Nevertheless, even though his choice of 12th century A. D. as the date ofthe
foundation ofNnewi falls  within the era ofNri movement in Igbo History,
16 .   Various Versions ofThe Origins ofNnewi
. 12th. century  A.D.   seems   too  early judging  from  thechronological  and
,historical sequence ofthe events that have occured in the course ofNnewi
history since  its  foundation.   The  beginning of l Sth century, about  1,400
A.D. would be a more probable guess, as will be explained later. Further-
, more,   the ,Isu  version'has it that Okpala Nnewi,   Umunnealam,   was  not
rejected  and  driven  away  because  of an  alleged  incest  as   stated  in.the
.version. It will be shown in Chapter four dealing with how the kingship and
Obiship  of Nnewi   shifted' from  Okpala  to  Digbo,   that  Nnewi   himself,
willingly, and with the consent ofEzeani Isu, his senior brother andthe king
<?f Agbajaland,   willed  the  throne to  Digbo,   his  second  son,   born of his
.beloved  Aro   wife, ' because  of the   manipulations   of Ibini   Ukpabi,   the
, Arochukwu oracle.
. Nevertheless, ibis version,has so far proved the most authentic source for
further 'research  into  the ,origins  and  migrations  of the  ancestors of the
present Nnewi people.
Another non Nnewi contribution came from an Oraifite female historical
researcher, Her contribution agrees to some extent with the Isu version of
the  origin ofNnewi ,
According to  Ifeoma Ogechukwu Efobi, an Oraifite researcher:
"Nearlyall the traditions oforiginofOraifite, indicate that
theyare somehow related to Nnewi and Ichi. These three
villages were knownand are still knownas Agbaja or Ana-
Edo... Agbaja, the tradition went on, had two sons from a
woman slave.
...It-would then be safe to assume that Nnewi was  inhab-
ited about the year 1570 A.D."22,
This version was-able to give the.correct name ofAgbaja, the founder ofthe
clan.   It also gave the names of Agbaja's two junior sons Ifite and  Ichi but
omitted the  name of Ikenga,   the  first  son  of Agbaja who  begot  Isu  and
Nnewi.   Ikenga was  rather-replaced with Nnewi,   his second son.  By  1570,
Nnewi had  been  inhabited for  over  one and  half centuries.   1570  A.D.   is..
therefore too late  as a  possible date  for  the  foundation  of Agbaja.   This
version is nevertheless quite reliable for further research on the origin and
migrations of Agbaja group of communities  which  include  Isu,   Nnewi, '
Oraifite and Ichi.
Various  Versions of The Origins ofNnewi   17
I.   Awolalu, J.O.   West African Traditional Religion. Ibadan, Onibonoje
Press..     9   9 ~ pp. 57-58.
2.   Okaewe, :R.I.,   "The Missionary impact at Nnewi". An  Unpublished
o.s.» B.A.   History Dissertation.   1981,   p.   17.
3.   Ijezie,   E.O.,   "Chieftaincy   institution   in Nnewi up   to   the  end of
Colonial Era". An Unpublished lINNMA.  History   Thesis. 1987. p. 4.
4.   Ajaegbo, D.I.,   "Evolution   of  Nnewi,   An History   Study in   Urban
development". An  Unpublished lINN MA.  History   Thesis 1981. p. 5.
5.   Uzodike, L.M.,   The Ancestory Record ofEze Obuo Family.   Enugu..
Star Printing and  Publishing Company,   1987.   p.xii.
6.   Ijezie,   E.O.   Op.   Cit.   p.6
7.   Onwuejeogwu, M.A.,   An 19b0  Civilization. Nri Kingdom andhege-
mony.   London,  Ethnographica,   1981., p.   9.
Onwuejeogwu, M.A.,   "Patterns of Population Movement in the Igbo
Cultural Area"  in (JDINANI,   Journal ofOdinani Musem.   Nri ..  Ana-
mbra State..  Nigeria, No.2  September  1977,   pp.  21-37.
8a.   Chidolue Ejike,   A Review  of the   groundwork of   Nnewi History.
Onitsha..   Etudo Press..   1964..  pp. 6-7.
8b.   Mojekwu Nneamaka,   Groundwork  History   ofIchi Town  Enugu,
B-Teks Publishing Company,   1994,   p. 4.
9.   Alutu, J.o., NNEWI HLSfT(JRY,   From the Earliest Tilnes to 1980/82.
Enugu..   F.G.P.   3rd  Edition,   1986,   pp. 6-7.
10.   Ijezie,   E.O.,  Gp.   Cit.   p. 4.
11.   Onwuejeogwu, M.A.,   Op.   Cit.   (7b)  p.  34.
12.   Isichei   Elizabeth,   A   History   of the   Igbo   People.   London   and
Basingstoke,  Macmillan,   1977,   p.   6.
18   Various Versions ofThe Origins ofNnewi
13.   Jones, G.I.,   The trading states ofthe Oil Rivers.   London, O.U.P.
1963,   p.   30.
14.   Isichei  Elizabeth, Op. cit.  p.   19.
15.   Henderson, R.N.,   The King   in  everyman, Evolutionary Trends  in
Onitsha Society and Culture.  New Haven and London, Yale  Univer-
sity Press,   1972, p. 41.
16.   Chidolue Ejike, Op.   cit.  p.
17.   Henderson, R.N.,   Op. cit.   p. 41
18.   Ugochukwu, C.N.,   A recorded incantations of one of the priests of
Ezemewi" which  was  recorded in August  1977 when the author went
with his senior brother, Mr. Elochukwu lfiora to observe a sacrifice to
the deity.
19.   Alutu, J.O., Op.   cit.  p. 307.
20.   Leonard, A.G.,   The Lower   Niger   and  its   Tribes.   London,   Frank
Cass,   1906,   2nd Edition,   1968,   p.  39.
21.   Alutu, E.I.,  "Death and  Funeral Rites  Among  Igbo  People of Nnewi
Division, East Central State".AJ? Unpublished l!N.N B.A. Religious
Studies Dissertation,   19'J6,   Appendix l A.
22.   Efobi, 1.0.,   "A history of  Oraifite people  before   1905" An  Unpub-
lished uu».   B.A. History Dissertation 1983, page 8.

Nnewi Education

Post by Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi
in History
on 08 September 2015

The ancient city of Nnewi hosts a number of traditional and formal learning institutions and places of learning, which include a

Medical University

  1. Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH)

Secondary School

  1. Government secondary schools:
  2. Okongwu Memorial Grammar School,
  3. Maria Regina Secondary School,
  4. Nnewi High School,
  5. Ichi Technical School (Ichi Community),
  6. Ichi Girls, Akoboezemu
  7. Community Secondary School,
  8. Anglican Girls Secondary School,
  9. Nnewi-Ichi Community Secondary School
  10. All Saints Secondary School Nnewi

School of Nursing

  1. Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital

Private schools:

  1. Summit International School,
  2. The Good Shepherd School,
  3. New Era School,
  4. Dr. Alutu's College of Excellence School
Nnewi Logo

Nnewi History

Post by Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi
in History
on 30 August 2015

Nnewi is an industrial cityand the second largest city in Anambra State in southeastern Nigeria. The city is known for producing a diversified range of transportation entrepreneurs from transporters, to spare parts dealers and manufacturers. It is located about 15 miles south of Onitsha and has a population of about 958,000. The city spans over 1,076.9 square miles (2,789 km2) in Anambra State. As of 2005, Nnewi Metropolitan Area and its satellite towns is a home to nearly 2.5 million residents. Nnewi Kingdom is also known as Anaedo meaning the Land of Gold (The supreme deity and goddess of Nnewi).

Geographically, Nnewi falls within the tropical rain forest region of the world. And as such, it suffers from soil leaching and soil erosion. In spite of these factors, that have reduced the soil to a porous sandy terrain, her citizens have survived this harshness through subsistence type of agriculture and trading.

Prior to this period, elaborate network of trade routes have emerged over the centuries linking them to the coastal region, the riverine Igbos and the entire Igbo mainland (Oru na Igbo). Dimensionally, Nnewi has an edge over all other units, being recognized by the 1953 figures as the largest inland town of all others in the Eastern states.

Nnewi Overview

Nnewi as a metropolitan city encompasses 4 local government areas, Nnewi North, Nnewi South, Ekwusigo and Ihiala Local Government; Nnewi North is commonly referred to as Nnewi central, and comprises four autonomous quarters: Otolo, Uruagu, Umudim, and Nnewichi. Nnewi North also includes Ichi, an autonomous neighboring town. Each quarter is further divided into villages and family units called Umunna. Each Umunna has a first family known as the obi. Otolo as the premiere quarter of the four quarters in Nnewi has been outstanding in all aspect of human endeavors. In it seated the mantle of leadership that governs the other quarters for the past decades. Its central success is figured in commercial trade but not limited to it, as its cultural heritage has always been the beacon of light to other neighboring village.

Before the British took over the administration of Nnewi in 1904, Nnewi as a kingdom had thrived for about four to five hundred years, according to oral tradition. It is believed that the kingdom was founded around the 15th century. Throughout her history, Nnewi employed its military might to maintain her borders and at times to expand them, if need be. Buffer zones were established against attacks. She accomplished these without a standing army. Based on the nature of the internal problem, mercenaries from Igboland were brought in to assist in army campaign or carnage

Edo is the supreme deity of all the deities in Anaedo clans. The central shrine of this unifying deity is as Nkwo Nnewi (central market). Nnewi, Ichi and Oraifite are members of Anaedo. These communities have common ancestries with respect to their beliefs and their traditional value system.  In the field of entertainment and traditional festivities, Afiaolu (New yam festival) and Ikwuaru are among traditional festivals held by Nnewi.

By 1940, Nnewi residents were at the center of an international trading network that dominated the supply of motor spare parts in Nigeria. The town subsequently became a center for commerce and industry, and has one of the largest automotive parts markets in Africa. Nnewi Township is an authentic "manufacturing miracle." Small and medium sized industries have set up in the town and are producing not only for the Nigeria markets but - albeit still to a limited extent - for markets abroad. Industrialization of the town began around 1970 when Nnewi motor parts traders began marketing their own brand name products instead of the reproductions of "original" parts.

The first indigenous car manufacturing plant in Nigeria is located in the city  while the first wholly made-in-Nigeria motorcycle, the 'NASENI M1' was manufactured in Nnewi. This great town called Nnewi is renown for producing great statesmen and leaders of commerce. The town is also one of the major trading and manufacturing centers of Nigeria. Due to its high commercial activities, the city has attracted millions of migrants from other states and countries.

The great majority of industrialists in the cluster of spare parts factories in Nnewi are also traders, and most of these traders are producing one or more of the products they specialize in marketing as traders (usually motor vehicle parts), and most began by distributing their products through their preexisting distribution networks. Nnewi is part of eastern Nigeria's industrial axis. The town has through culturally grounded institutions that act as sophisticated networks expanded to include an international dimension through trading relations with exporters from Asia. Over the last decade, the town of Nnewi has experienced relatively rapid industrialization. In excess of 20 medium to large scale industries have been established across a variety of sectors.

Since 1970, Nnewi has been a major trading and manufacturing center in Nigeria. Nnewi residents have controlled approximately 80 to 90 percent of the motor-parts trade in Nigeria. Nnewi (Nkwo) Market is the major import and wholesale point for motor spare parts in Nigeria. The industrialists of Nnewi are adapting foreign technology to local needs, providing employment to thousands, and making available goods and services which are relevant actual needs of the Nigerian citizens. Due to its high commercial activities, the city has attracted millions of migrants from other states and countries.

The Ofala Nnewi is a cultural festival held every year to celebrate the coronation of the Igwe of Nnewi. Afiaolu (New yam festival) and Ikwuaru are also among traditional festivals held annually in Nnewi.

It is an honor and a privilege for us to call the great town of Nnewi our hometown. We invite you to experience Nnewi the next time that you travel to Nigeria. Thanks

Oral History and Mythology

Nnewi's history dates back to the fifteenth century when migrants from Benin, Agbaja, Abatete, Ikenga and Ndoni settled in the area and were soon grafted into various descent groups. Nnewi's organization structure is configured in four quarter or territories: Otolo, Uruagu, Umudim and Nnewichi. Each quarter is made up of a large descent group comprising smaller lineages and headed by an Obi, the chief of the quarter. The four quarters in Nnewi were the original names of the Sons of Nnewi: Otolo being the  eldest and Nnewichi being the youngest of the sons. Edo is the supreme deity of all the Alusi (Igbo: deity) in the Anaedo Kingdom. The central shrine of this unifying Alusi is at Nkwo Nnewi, the central market. There are four other deities in Nnewi: Ana, Ezemewi, Eze and Ele.

Three of the quarters in Nnewi are connected together by the high goddess Edo. However, with the arrival of missionaries to Nnewi beginning in 1892, residents gradually converted to Christianity. The C.M.S. church was the first to come to town and it later established schools at Otolo, Nnewi and Uruagu.

The city's center market Nkwo founded in 1901 is a major spare parts market in the country. It has various sectors dominated by the spare parts division, timber and furniture area, cloth area and food area.

Nnewi existed as an independent kingdom from the 15th century to 1904, when British colonial administration occupied the kingdom. The arrival of the British colonial officer Major Moorhouse signified a gradual change with the establishment of civil courts, a royal Nnewi court and the appointment of warrant chiefs. Igwe Orizu I was given a warrant for Nnewi.

In Nnewi oral history and mythology, the 'ewi' (Igbo: bush rat) played a great role in saving the founders of Nnewi during wars.  Nnewi has used its military might to maintain its borders and because of this, the killing or eating of ewi in Nnewi is forbidden to the present day. The town's name is a combination of ewi, a term for a rabbit and nne, mother, meaning Nnewi, mother of rabbits.Throughout its history,

Overview Anambra State, Nigeria

Nnewi is a town in Anambra State, Nigeria. Anambra State is known as the Home for All. The estimated population of the state is approximately 4 million people. The capital of the state is Awka. The major cities and towns in the state are Aguata, Awka, Ihiala, Nnewi, and Onitsha. The state was created on August 27, 1991, following the creation of states exercise in Nigeria. The state was created from the old Anambra State, and derives its name from the Anambra River, which itself is a tributary of the majestic River Niger.  Anambra State has two of the largest markets in Nigeria. The markets are the Onitsha Main Market reputed to be the largest of its kind in the West African sub-region, and the Nnewi (Nkwo) Market which is said to be the largest automotive parts market in Nigeria. Few States in Nigeria have as many neighbors as Anambra State. The state shares boundaries with Abia State, Delta State, Enugu State, Imo State, and Kogi State.


The city is located near a bypass that links Port Harcourt to Onitsha, the latter is a few kilometers from Nnewi. Historically, the Nnewi Local Division is comprised of 14 towns among the towns and surrounding population centers are Nnobi, Amichi, Orifite, Ichi, Ozubulu, Ukpo and Ezinifite. The area creates a contiguous and dense settlement of people engaged in farming, commerce and industry.

Geographically, Nnewi falls within the tropical rain forest region of Nigeria. The city like most of its environs goes through two major seasons: rainy and dry season with an intermittent case of harmmattan. The area is a lowland rain forest with a broad strip of between 130-200km and it is situated in the Awka-Orlu uplands where outcrops of sandstones and shales have been differentially carved by erosion.Although it suffers from soil leaching and erosion which has reduced the soil in some areas to a porous sandy terrain, it remains an area of rich agricultural produce and the epicenter of business trade. The city is located near the margins of a plateau that slops towards the River Niger, and it is connected to the coast through Aboh on the Niger and about 22 kilometers south east of Onitsha in Anambra State, Nigeria.


The traditional monarch of Nnewi is called the Igwe. The Igweship in Nnewi kingdom predates the arrival of Europeans, making it a unique monarchy in Igbo land. The Igbos are known for not having kings, hence the popular Igbo saying Igbo é nwě Eze', meaning 'the Igbos have no king'. In other Igbo clans, the British colonial administrators created warrant chiefs who then assumed the office and title of Igwe and are elected to this day. In Nnewi, the Igwe is the isi obi (head of the Obis) and hence the Igwe, which literally translates as the heavenly one or highness as he is the holder of the Ojo, the religious and political symbol. He is born and not made or elected, and the institution of inheritance is the traditional right and privilege. The position is neither transferable nor negotiable. He is also an Obi. Obi is the title held by ruling chiefs; it is the equivalent of a duke in the nobility.

The present reigning monarch is His Royal Highness Igwe Kenneth Onyeneke Orizu III; he is the longest serving monarch in Nigeria  and he is currently the 20th monarch in the Nnofo Royal lineage. Igwe Kenneth Orizu III is the first class chief in Anambra state from Nnewi as well as the vice Chairman of the Anambra State House of Chiefs.

The traditional rulers of Nnewi

There are Obis in the four clans that make up Nnewi. The highest and the most senior obi is the Obi of Otolo, who is also the Igwe of Nnewi. Chief Nnamdi Obi, Obi Bennett Okafor and Obi George Onyekaba are the current obis of Uruagu, Umudim, and Nnewichi, respectively.  These three obis with Igwe Kenneth Orizu, III as chairman constitute the Igwe-in-Council and they deliberate on the spiritual, traditional, and communal matters, in Nnewi.

There is also an active town union called the Nzuko-Ora Nnewi. It is a forum through which adult Nnewi natives (18 years or older) can contribute to the development of Nnewi. This union was set up to encourage and promote the establishment of structures and facilities that will promote and improve the quality of life of people resident at Nnewi people.

Legal system

The ancient legal system of Nnewi was not based upon a written law. It was purely a natural law, involving custom, tradition, and civil and criminal cases. The legal process in Nnewi passed through the labyrinth of extended family system. A report against an offender or a criminal in the first instance, had to be made to the head of his family at his ancestral home known as obi. The head of the family would invite elders and minor obis from his extended family unit to sit in judgment, while the complainant would also invite the elders and minor obis from his extended family side, if both of them were not from the same family. This obi would serve as the court of the first instance, depending, of course, on the nature of the offense or crime allegedly committed. The trial might end here, if both the complainant and the accused were satisfied with the judgment given, or they might take the case to the next senior obi of the same extended' family, in ascending order, until, probably, the matter got to the highest obi in the lineage. If the complainant was not satisfied at this point, he would appeal to the obi of the quarter and the leaders of his family could be summoned to defend their judgment.

Through this legal procedure, guilt or innocence could easily be established, as the decision was based purely on natural justice. Punishments for offenses and criminal acts were given in relation to their gravity. A man who was found guilty of a serious crime might have no option than to be sold into slavery or expelled from the community for life. He would not be killed because the killing of human beings was against the injunction of Edo Goddess.

The judicial system in Nnewi seems to have recognized three classes of cases, the minor offences, the true criminal case, and the civil suits of debt, bride price and land. The breaking of by-laws was really an offence against some particular juju and as such was to be expiated by a sacrifice. It was, for example, forbidden to kill an "eke" snake, a type of python, or to eat "ewi," rodent of rabbit family. It is probable these laws were never broken willingly and if broken by accident, the offender would automatically perform a sacrifice without any form of judicial trial being held. The criminal code, with regard to serious crimes, appears to have been more developed in Nnewi than elsewhere in Igboland. There were seven main classes of offences, which were known as "ori-obi," offences against the obi, as their investigation was always carried out in the obi of the quarter.


In the Nigeria arena of politics, Nnewi has contributed its fair share of key players in Nigerian politics. Some of the famous Nnewi politicians are

  1. A. A. Nwafor Orizu; president of the Nigerian Senate in the First Republic and later, the Acting President before the first coup d’etat of 1966,
  2. M.C.K. Ajuluchukwu; a nationalist, anti-colonialist and first republic law-maker,
  3. Chief Z.C. Obi (Onunekwuluigbo Igbo); First republic politician, President General of Ibo State Union 1951-1966
  4. Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu, OBE,
  5. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu (Ikemba Nnewi); former military Governor of defunct Eastern Nigeria and President of defunct Republic of Biafra,
  6. Comrade Dr. Edward Ikem Okeke; Deputy President of the PRP and Special Adviser to the President (Second Republic),
  7. Mr. F. C. Nwokedi; the first Nigerian Permanent Secretary,
  8. Dr. Dozie Ikedife (Ikenga Nnewi); former President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo,
  9. Professor A. B. C. Nwosu; Former Health Commissioner in East Central state and Anambra state, respectively, and  was also a Federal Minister of Health in the Obasanjo government
  10. Dr. Chu Okongwu; was a Federal Minister of Finance in Babangida’s government.
  11. Dr. David Bennet Anagwu Ofomata;The first Indigenous Medical Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation, First CEO/Chairman Anambra Health Management Board & Chairman old Nnewi LGA;
  12. General Samuel Ifeanyichukwu Momah was a Federal Minister of Science and Technology.
  13. Senator Onyeabo Obi (Ose Oji Nnewi) was a Federal Senator,


For this past fifty years, Nnewi has embanked on various types of community development programs which include building primary schools, post primary schools, hospitals, rural electrification and water supply projects. These infrastructures earned her urban status in the early 1970’s. In terms of education, Nnewi has 48 elementary schools, 6 post primary schools,15 hospitals, medical centers and teaching hospital-- Nnamdi AzIkiwe University.

Apart from contributing her own share in terms of Nigerian Politics, Nnewi has created a vibrant economy since after the Civil War. In spite of the set back, during and after the Civil War, Nnewi has made a quantum leap with respect to economic development. , Ajulu Uzodike (Ozi Uzo Nnewi) was the President

Agbo Edo, a forest land which belonged to Edo Nnewi deity, was cleared to make way for a new market called Nkwo Nnewi market. The development of this market propelled the fast development of the local economy.

Nkwo Nnewi Auto spare parts industry started during the Civil War. By the early 1980’s, manufacturing of autos, spare parts and other goods were added to the economy. These industries have survived over the years due to the quality of their products. Their market shares have increased tremendously in recent years. Today, Nnewi accounts for over 23% of products in the Nigerian market with respect to motor vehicles and motorcycle spare parts.

As a fast developing city and a major industrial and commercial hub in Africa, Nnewi experiences voluminous financial activities, therefore hosts major banks, and other financial institutions. Industries are dotted around the city and adjoining towns. Palm oil, cosmetics, motor, and motorcycle spare parts, books, and stationeries, textiles, electric cables, and so on are produced in commercial quantity in the area. Its main trading centers include Nkwo Nnewi market (the largest spare parts market in west Africa) and Nwafor market, Eke Amaobi market, Eke Ochie, Eke Ichi Market, Orie otube Market, etc.

To support the aforementioned economic progress, Nnewi has at the present, six to seven modern hotels that are well furnished with modern amenities. The most important ones are:

  1. Anaedo Guest House
  2. Beverly Hills Hotel
  3. CONV-AJ  Hotel
  4. Hotel De Universe
  5. King’s Palace
  6. Regent
  7. Sabena
  8. Jideofo
  9. Ofala Guest House and etc 

Agriculture and forestry

The main occupation of Nnewi people is trading and farming, therefore they depend mainly on agriculture and commerce for their daily livelihood. Most Nnewian have mbubo (home gardens) and ubi (out-station gardens) were they usually cultivate their farm products. These crops when they are harvested are usually taken to the market for sale. Most of the prime cash crops include oil palm, raffia palm, groundnut, melon, cotton, cocoa, rubber, maize, et cetera. Food crops such as yam, cassava, cocoyam, breadfruit, and three-leaf yam are also produced in large quantities. The location of Nnewi within the tropical rainforest gives it the ecological basis for production of a wide range of tropical agriculture crops with widespread potential for industrial convention.


Nnewi is home to many major indigenous manufacturing industries including Ibeto Group of Companies, Cutix and ADswitch, Uru Industries Ltd, Omata Holdings Ltd, Cento Group of Companies, Coscharis of Companies Group, Innoson Group of Companies, Ebunso Nig. Ltd, John White Industries, Ejiamatu Group of Companies, Chicason Group, Louis Carter Group, etc.

The great majority of industrialists in the cluster of spare parts factories in Nnewi are also traders, and most of these traders are producing one or more of the products they specialize in marketing as traders (usually motor vehicle parts), and most began by distributing their products through their preexisting distribution networks.

The growth of small and medium scale engineering and manufacturing firms in the city can be traced to various factors including location and perceived noneconomic social institutions such as family, culture, religion and kinships which imbibes trust. Many of the firms employ family members and relations at critical positions and employ age old coordinated social political cultural institutions such as lineages to provide an economic function. A number of the firms started out as a trading entities before branching into manufacturing firms and utilized technical skills and techniques acquired from Taiwan and a few other Asian countries. They were able to withstand the structural adjustment programme of the mid to late 80s, by showing significant growth during the period as other firms folded.

During the rise of indigenous manufacturing clusters in the city, the firms functioned as substitutes of the state, many times providing their own water, road and power facilities.

Nnewi is part of eastern Nigeria's industrial axis. The town has through culturally grounded institutions that act as sophisticated networks expanded to include an international dimension through trading relations with exporters from Asia. Over the last decade, the town of Nnewi has experienced relatively rapid industrialization. In excess of 20 medium-to-large-scale industries have been established across a variety of sectors. Since 1970, Nnewi residents have controlled approximately 80 to 90 percent of the motor-parts trade in Nigeria.

Nkwo Nnewi Market is the major import and wholesale point for motor spare parts in Nigeria. The industrialists of Nnewi are adapting foreign technology to local needs, providing employment to thousands, and making available goods and services which are relevant actual needs of the Nigerian citizens. The first indigenous car manufacturing plant is located in the city, while the first wholly Made-in-Nigeria motorcycle was manufactured in Nnewi by the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI).

The following are the names of the major manufacturing industries:

  1. Ibeto Group of Companies
  2. Cutix and ADswitch
  3. Omata Holdings Ltd
  4. Centro Group of Companies
  5. Coscharis of Companies Group
  6. Innoson Group of Companies
  7. Edison Nig. Ltd
  8. John White Industries M. O. I. Ltd.
  9. John Ray Industries LTD
  10. Luis Carter Industries LTD
  11. Iju Industries LTD and etc

Auto parts

Nnewi is known for the vibrant auto industry in the city, the first Igbo man to own and drive a car was HRH Igwe. Orizu I (Eze Ugbo Onya Mba) in 1912. By 1940, Nnewi residents were at the center of an international trading network that dominated the supply of motor spare parts in Nigeria. The town subsequently became a center for commerce and industry, and has one of the largest automotive parts markets in Africa. Nnewi Township is an authentic "manufacturing miracle." Small and medium-sized industries have set up in the town and are producing not only for the Nigeria markets but – albeit still to a limited extent – for markets abroad.

Industrialization of the town began around 1970 when Nnewi motor parts traders began marketing their own brand name products instead of the reproductions of "original" parts. There are a several auto and motorcycle spare parts dealers in Nnewi; the Nnewi Motorcycle spare parts market is well known throughout West Africa. There is also new auto plant, the first of its kind in Nigeria, owned by an Nnewi businessman, Innocent Chukwuma, Oon and a Chinese auto Company.


Nnewi, as a historical city, has many cultural events and places adorned with festivities and cultural monuments, including Edo Na Ezemewi shrine, Udoogwugwu shrine (Ichi), Kamanu shrine (Ichi), and many other shrines dotted across all sections of Nnewi city. Nnewi host many festivals, notably amongst them is the New yam (Afiolu, also known as Ifejioku festival) which all parts of the city participates and masquerades from all federating towns participates in. The festival attracts all sorts of activities and celebrations of which all Nnewi residents’ holds to the highest esteem.

In average home of any Nnewi citizen, they usually keep kola nuts, garden egg and peanut butter in their refrigerator should in case of any stranger or visitor to their home. Every visitation to their home begins with the offering of the kola nuts to the visitor. The kola nut is indicating that the visitor is very much welcomed. The ritual of the offering of kola nut is inspired with the giving in prayers and blessing or lobby to the supreme God and other deities, for the protection of the visitor and the host. Its seems to be a custom to the people of Nnewi in any of their traditional ceremony.

Arts and crafts

Local artists thrive in this municipal rural communities. Works of art produced in the area comprises, carved doors, walking sticks of different designs, sculptures, flutes, wooden mortars and pestles, gongs, and the famous talking drums. Metal works and various types of productions are locally fashioned.


For more details on this topic, see Igbo music.

The Nnewi people, just like every other Igbo group, have a musical style into which they incorporate various percussion instruments: the udu, which is essentially designed from a clay jug; an ekwe, which is formed from a hollowed log; and the ogene, a hand bell designed from forged iron. Other instruments include opi, a wind instrument similar to the flute, igba, and ichaka.

Traditional marriage

There are three types of marriages in Nnewi as also practiced across the Nigerian society: the traditional marriage held in the house of the woman; the official wedding, held in a registry office and which allows only one wife; and the religious marriage.

The official marriage ceremony is called “Igbankwu”, which is the Igbo word for the traditional marriage ceremony. Nnewi do not have an “engagement” ceremony. Rather, the Igbankwu is preceded by a series of events during which the potential bride’s and groom’s families engage each other to discuss the terms of the marriage. Perhaps this can be characterized as an engagement.. Please note that Nigeria has 250 ethnic groups and each varies on marriage traditions. Further, within groups there can be even greater differentiation.

Cultural attire

The traditional attire for the men is an overflowing jumper or a long-sleeved shirt worn over the gooji wrapper, which is tied around the waist, curving down to the ankles. This dress is matched with a cap and a walking stick, which aids as an instrument of support and defense. The traditional wear for the women is a blouse, worn over a loin cloth. This female attire goes with a head-tie ear rings and necklaces or traditional necklaces

New Yam Festival

In Nnewi, the occasion of Iri-ji ohuu (new-yam eating) is a cultural festival because of its significance. Nnewi people celebrate their new yam festival usually at the end of August during which assortment of festivities mark the eating of new yam. These festivities normally include a lot of variety entertainment including performance of ceremonial rites by the Igwe (King), cultural dances by Igbo men, women and their children as well as a display of Igbo cultural activities in the form of contemporary shows, masquerade dance, and feasting at a grand scale on a wide variety of food making up the menu of the Igbos.

The first day of the festival the Igwe of Nnewi will officiate the Harvest thanksgiving ceremony at his palace where the yams are offered to gods and ancestors first before distributing them to the villagers. After the prayer of thanksgiving to god, The Igwe eats the first yam because it is believed that his position gives him the privilege of being intermediaries between Nnewi communities and the gods of the land. The rituals involved in the new yam eating are meant to express the community's appreciation to the gods for making the harvest of their yams possible. This therefore explains the three aspect of Igbo worldview, that they are pragmatic, religious and appreciative. This ceremony has been celebrated for centuries and as has always presented the right conditions for all and sundry, family and friends to come together to demonstrate their commitment and solidarity to their local community. Due to this fact, the Igbos every where in the world do celebrate this event in a highly captivating manner in order to protect and celebrate the enriched cultural heritage of her people.


Nnewi, Ichi and Oraifite made up the Anaedo Empire. Anaedo communities have common ancestries, beliefs and traditional value systems. Christianity was introduced by the Europeans in 1885 and many Nnewi people now practice Christianity.

Due to this reason, religion has occupied a central place in the heart of Nnewi people. This counts for the huge churches and religious practices in the city. The people of Nnewi are 96% Christian, with small fractions of other faiths: 2% traditionalist, 0.2% Jews, 0.3% Muslims and 1.5% others. Among the Christian community, the catholic and Anglican Communion shares a greater number of followers followed by other Pentecostal Christian groups.

Christianity first came on the Southeastern part of Nigeria with the arrival of the Holy Ghost missionaries from Gabon to Onitsha under the leadership of Fr. Joseph Lutz late on Saturday December 5, 1885. Fr. Joseph Shanahan (The Apostle of Igboland) joined them in 1902 and when the mantle of leadership fell on him in 1905, history was set to record the evangelization of Roman Catholic Diocese of Nnewi. The stream of this evangelization was to flow through two main courses almost concurrently: one having Nnewi as its source and the other Ozubulu/Ihiala.

Though individuals from various communities have come in contact with the faith as they traveled to Onitsha and other places for trade and in quest of western education, the actual planting of the seed of the gospel in Nnewi Diocese from the Catholic perspective sprang from the treks of Fr. Victor Duhaze to Ozubulu through Oguta (1906) and to Nnewi through Umuoji, Ojoto Mili Agu down to Odida Nnewichi in 1906.

However, the Anglican Church was established in Nnewi from Obosi in 1893. But the seed of what is today Nnewi Diocese was sown in 1809. Requests were made by Odida. Community in Nnewichi inviting Fr. J. Shanahan. In the same year, some Ozubulu indigenes had registered the same requests for establishing a Church station at Ozubulu. Nnewi people are proud of there traditional Odinani as well as the new religion of Christianity. @(Note:The Church Missionary Society CMS under the leadership of Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther and Reverend Henry Townsend arrived Onitsha on July 27, 1857)

Social issues

  • Health

Nnewi hosts a number of institutions and places of learning and healing, which include Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH) and a number of international agencies. The Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, is in the forefront of providing excellent health services to the nation. The hospital and its annexes since inception had provided specialized and comprehensive medical care to the immediate community and beyond. Its mandate also includes undergraduate and postgraduate medical and paramedical training as well as research. These services had grown from strength to strength through the years fueled by comprehensive annual plans approved by the Federal Government.

  • Education

The ancient city of Nnewi hosts a number of traditional and formal learning institutions and places of learning, which include a Medical University: Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH) Government secondary schools: Okongwu Memorial Grammar School, Maria Regina Secondary School, Nnewi High School, Ichi Technical School (Ichi Community), Ichi Girls, Akoboezemu Community Secondary School, Anglican Girls Secondary School, Nnewi-Ichi Community Secondary School e.t.c. Private schools: Summit International School, The Good Shepherd School, New Era School, Dr. Alutu's College of Excellence School e.t.c. ,

  • Crime

Crime rates are low[clarification needed] but civil disputes such as land ownership and family inheritance exist. In more recent times, the market square and banks have experienced well publicized and organized criminal attacks that have been allegedly linked to the local police. There are now open debates on reinstating a local vigilante crime fighting group called the Bakkassi Boys,[13] who had a multi-year stint in Nnewi in the late 1990s when crime was on the increase. This group had a modus operandi that many considered barbaric but necessary – convicted thieves were killed in public by dismembering their body parts with a sharp machete and burning them alive. The activities of this group of men which had permission of the Governor of the state was seen by the Human rights activists and civil right movement as a violation of human rights and campaigned against their practices. Recently, Nnewi is relatively peaceful except for isolated occurrences of kidnapping of prominent local citizens for large ransoms.


Transportation is very vital to the development of any commercial center. Historically, with the development of road networks in Nigeria, Igbo businessman many from Nnewi came to play a major role in the commercial transportation of goods and people from various locations in Nigeria to another. The first owner of a vehicle in the city was the Igwe and the major road was the Uzo wire Rd which followed a communication line.

The demand for commercial transport grew with the rise of palm produce export and intraregional trade needs. The transport entrepreneurs from the town branched out to various urban cities of the federation and by early 1980s, over 50% of the entrepreneurs were working out of Nnewi. Transporters from Nnewi were known for their un-orthodox South to North migration patterns jettisoning the fashionable North to South pattern.

Nnewi ranks first among other towns in the aspect of economic development.  Nnewi is well known as the home of several transport and logistics businesses since the end of the second world war. Philip Odumegwu Ojukwu was one of Nigeria's first transporters and since then, many more transporters have emerged from Nnewi.

Some of the Nnewi owned transport firms in Nigeria are:

  1. Chi Di Ebere Transport Ltd
  2. Ekene Dili Chukwu Nig. Ltd.
  3. Ijeoma Motors Nig. Ltd.
  4. Ekeson Motors Ltd
  5. Izuchukwu Nig. Ltd.
  6. Nsoedo Transport Ltd
  7. Orizu Transport Limited
  8. Bluebase Transport Solutions
  9. Izu Okaka Anaedo Ltd
  10. Ojukwu Transport
  11. D, D Onyemelukwe Transport

 Despite these major steps in the right direction, Nnewi people are still striving to improve their community in terms of good roads, living quarters, and educational facilities. Nnewi organizations


Nnewi Overview

Post by Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi
in History
on 31 August 2015

Nnewi is a town in Anambra State, south-central Nigeria. It is located about 15 miles south of Onitsha and has a population of about 958,000. Geographically, falls within the tropical rain forest region of the world. And as such, it suffers from soil leaching and sol erosion.

In spite of these factors, that have reduced the soil to a porous sandy terrain, her citizens have survived this harshness through subsistence type of agriculture and trading. Prior to this period, elaborate network of trade routes have emerged over the centuries linking them to the coastal region, the riverine Igbos and the entire Igbo mainland (Oru na Igbo)

Nnewi is the only town in Nnewi North LGA. It has four villages (sub-towns) that make up the one-town local government, which includes; Otolo, Uruagu, Umudim and Nnewi-ichi. The traditional ruler of Nnewi- Igwe of Nnewi -presently is Igwe Kenneth Orizu the 3rd of which this royal family is from Otolo Nnewi, and for this reason, is regarded as first among equals of the four villages.

Other traditional rulers exist in other villages and they oversee the traditional affairs of their respective villages, which are Obi Nnamdi AC Obi (ogidi)who is obi of Uruagu, Obi Umudim And obi Onyekaba Of Nnewichi.


Here is the list of secondary schools in Nnewi North Local Government Area:

  1. Girls’ Secondary School, Nnewi
  2. Maria Regina Model Comprehensive Secondary School, Nnewi
  3. Nnewi High School, Nnewi
  4. Nigerian Science & Technical College, Nnewi
  5. Okongwu Memorial Grammar School, Nnewi
  6. Women Educational Centre, Nnewi
  7. Community Secondary School, Nnewichi, Nnewi
  8. Akoboezem Community Secondary School, Uruagu, Nnewi

Nnewi Metropolitan City

Country Nigeria
State Anambra State
LGA Nnewi North, Nnewi South
Settled September 4, 1440
Incorporated town April 1904
Incorporated city 1991

Government Type (Local level)

Current King:

Other Leaders:




His Royal Highness Igwe Kenneth Orizu III

Chief Nnamdi Obi,

Chief Kenneth Okafor

Chief George Onyekaba

Government Type (State level)

Governing body


Executive Chairman-Council

Local Government Council



Nnewi indigenes

Nnewi and Satellite towns




7,000/sq mi (2,800/km2)
 Time zone WAT (UTC+ 1)
 Post Code  435101
Religion - Catholics: 77.14%
- African Traditional Religion (A.T.R.): 0.4%
- Others eg. Anglican, Pentecostals: 22.14%