Also referred to as Onicha mmili, Onitsha is a largely commercial city found in Anambra state located the Southeast geopolitical zone of Nigeria. Onitsha has an estimated population of 955, 765 inhabitants with the Igbo as the dominant ethnic group. Prominent areas in Onitsha include Olosi, Amafor, Omagba, Odume layout, Ogidi, Nkpor New market, Limca road, Umusiome Ibo, Aforadike, Ububa, Awka road, Okebunabo, Awada, Isiokwe, and Fegge. The widely practiced religions in Onitsha are Christianity and Traditional religion.
The Obi of Onitsha is an influential figure in the city and oversees the traditional administration of Onitsha. The Ofala festival is an annual festival held in the city of Onitsha while popular city landmarks include the Onitsha Main market, Onitsha recreational Club, Palace of the Obi of Onitsha, Onitsha Mall, River Niger Bridge, Chuba Ikpeazu memorial stadium, All Saints Cathedral, and the Dennis Memorial Grammar school which is a renowned college in the Southeast region of Nigeria. Hospitals found in Onitsha include Toronto Hospital, General Hospital, New Hope hospital, Menax hospital, Bez Memorial hospital, Pioneer international specialist hospital, Ifechukwu specialist hospital, Victory hospital, Glory hospital and Maternity, and the Saint Charles Borromeo hospital.
Onitsha is situated on the eastern bank of River Niger and falls under the tropical savannah climate. Onitsha has an 83 percent humidity with average annual temperature pegged at 27 degrees centigrade.
The city has a total area of 52km squared and has two distinct seasons which are the rainy season which runs from late March to late November and the dry season which runs between December and February. Total rainfall is estimated at 3000 mm per annum.
Onitsha is widely regarded as the commercial nerve center of the Southeast region and is home to a river port which plays a critical part in the city’s economic life. Onitsha is Nigeria’s largest river port city and is home to the Onitsha main market which is West Africa’s largest Market. Other important markets in Onitsha include Relief market, Ochanja market, International textilemarket, Mgbuka market, and the Electrical dealers market.
The city of Onitsha is also home to a plethora of industries which include the Onitsha Brewery managed by the SAB miller group. Onitsha is also an important city in the production and marketing of Nollywood movies with the Upper Iweka district playing a leading role in this regard.
The history of Onitsha is traced to Chima, a prince of the Benin empire who after a fallout with the Oba of Benin migrated to and founded the present day Isele-Ukwu while his first son moved across the Niger River to settle in the area now known as Onitsha.
In 1857, the British first came into Onitsha as Palm oil traders and Christian missionaries while the city became a British protectorate in 1900. The famous River Niger Bridge was constructed in 1965 providing a link between the Southeast states and areas such as Benin and Lagos.
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