Aba | Nigeria

Aba is a city in the southeast of Nigeria and the commercial center of Abia State. Upon the creation of Abia state in 1991, Aba was divided into two local governments areas namely; Aba South and Aba North. Aba south is the main city centre and the heart beat of Abia State, south-east Nigeria. It is located on the Aba River. Aba is made up many villages such as; Aba-Ukwu, Eziukwu-Aba, Obuda-Aba,Umuokpoji-Aba and other villages from Ohazu merged due to administrative convenience. Aba was established by the Ngwa clan of Igbo People of Nigeria as a market town and then later a military post was placed there by the British colonial administration in 1901. It lies along the west bank of the Aba River, and is at the intersection of roads leading to Port Harcourt, Owerri, Umuahia, Ikot Ekpene, and Ikot Abasi. The city became a collecting point for agricultural products following the British made railway running through it to Port Harcourt. Aba is a major urban settlement and commercial centre in a region that is surrounded by small villages and towns. The indigenous people of Aba are the Ngwa. Aba is well known for its craftsmen. As of 2006 census, Aba had a population of 534,265.

The Aro Expedition, which was part of a larger military plan to quell anti-colonial sentiment in the region, took place in the area of Aba during 1901 and 1902. During this military action, the British easily beat the native Aro people with an unknown number (presumed to be heavy) of casualties. In 1901, the British founded a military post in Aba and in 1915, a railroad was constructed to link it to Port Harcourt, which transported agricultural goods such as palm oil and palm kernels. In 1929 Aba was the site of a revolt by Igbo women, historically known as "The Aba Women's Riot"[nb 1], a protest of the colonial taxation policy. The riot started first as a peaceful protest against the initial census of women in the region, and subsequent assumed taxation of the women based upon rumour. The protests spread throughout the palm oil belt, but remained peaceful until a pregnant woman was knocked over during a "scuffle", and the lady losing her child. The news of this "act of abomination" spread rapidly and violent reactions ensued. After more deaths, some accidental, some not, occurred, a mass of 10,000 women marched on Aba. Sources dispute the numbers of dead, with 55 to over 100 being reported. During the height of the Nigerian Civil War in 1967, the state capital of Biafra was moved to Umuahia from Enugu. Aba was devastated during the Biafran War. By the 1930s, Aba was becoming a large urban community with an established industrial complex.

The city has played a lasting role in the Christian evangelism of the Southeast of Nigeria since the British brought the Church Missionary Society (CMS), an evangelism vehicle of then Church of England used to plant what today has become the Anglican Church of Nigeria. The church named All the Saints, originated out of the evangelical initiative of three oil traders from Opopo-Joseph Cookey, Gabrial Coookey and Zedekiah Cookeys. These men sailed up the Abs- Azumini River in 1896 for their trading and also for planting of Christian Region. In 1897, they negotiated with Abayi and Umuocham people for land establish their oil business at two beaches, which they built at Abayi waterside and Umuocham waterside. They traded oil producers from Ngwa the life, the word they preach, the religious cum trade relationship that transpired, the cookeys converted the Abayi and Umuocham people to Christianity. From 1901 especially in 1902, they planning at intensive crusade and invited their landlords. This led to the planting of two congregation one at Abayi waterside and the other at Umuocham dedicated by Bishop Johnson, the Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Western Equatorial Africa (1900-1917). The earlier converts from Abayi and umuocham attended service at St. Ambrose, Abayi Waterside Until 1905 when they set up their own Church -shade at Abayi and Umuocham respectively. Joseph Cookey was the volunteer teacher for Abayi while Gabriel Cookey was Volunteer teaches for Umuocham.

St. Michael's Cathedral Anglican Church was founded in the late 1920s although St. James Parish on the city edge (Umule) is arguably the oldest church because the diocese's first mass was celebrated in 1916. Most of the Primary and Secondary Schools mentioned above were founded by the CMS along with each of their Churches.

In 1923, the Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA Church) was established. The Seventh-day Adventists are well known for their Biblical faith, quality hospitals and good educational institutions.

There are many problems with waste management in Aba, stemming from the lack of a regular garbage disposal, which means that trash piles up in the streets from the many markets that dot the city. Waste Management problems have been tried to be solved through the Federal and State Governments, however the problems still exist, and have not been solved. "Aba is the commercial hub of eastern Nigeria". There are well known markets (such as Ariaria International Market, Ahia Ohuru (New Market), Eziukwu Road Market (Cemetery Market ), Shopping Centre (Ekeoha) etc.) that serve the entire region with quality wares, provisions, cosmetics, etc. (See also www.waste.org.ng for more recent pictures captured by a researcher on the tour of Aba)

Abia is a state in the south eastern part of Nigeria. The capital is Umuahia and the major commercial city is Aba. The commercial hub, Aba was formerly a British colonial government outpost in the region. Abia state was created in 1991 from part of Imo State. It is one of the constituent states of the Niger Delta region.

Crude oil and gas production is a prominent activity, as it contributes over 39% of the State's GDP. However, the Indigenous oil companies, through the Marginal Fields Programme (MFP) have not found it easy to attract the requisite funding and infrastructural capacity to explore some of the marginal oil fields, about 50 in the State.

The manufacturing sector only accounts for 2% of the GDP. The industrial centre of the state is in Aba, with textile manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, soap, plastics, cement, footwear, and cosmetics. In addition to the above, Abia State Government have just built a 9000 capacity multi purpose International Conference Centre in Umuahia. This edifice of international standard was built by Governor T.A Orji to enhance tourism as well as boost the State economy through hosting of major International and Local events.

Representing 27% of the GDP, agriculture, which employs 70% of the state workforce, is the second economic sector of Abia. With its adequate seasonal rainfall, Abia has much arable land that produces yams, maize, potatoes, rice, cashews, plantains, taro, and cassava. Oil palm is the most important cash crop.

Abia State was carved out of the former Imo State in 1991. The name "Abia" is an abbreviation of four of the state's densely populated regions Aba, Bende, Isuikwuato, and Afikpo. It is one of the thirty-six (36) States with seventeen (17) Local government areas (LGAs) that constitute the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Abia people are of the Igbo ethnic group who are one of the indigenous peoples of Southeastern part of Nigeria. Their traditional language is Igbo as its citizens are predominantly Igbo people (95% of population). English is widely spoken and serves as the official language in governance and business. Abia's over 2.4 million people are mainly Christians.

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