Home PoliticsAfrica News The people of Onitsha are from the Benin Empire (Edo Kingdom).

This glimpse of historical notes is essential for Africans to understand and value their numerous similarities instead of minor colonial- division that has been implanted in the Minds of contemporary Africans. History is just not for the purpose of satisfying our curiosity, but a process of making the past to become living again, in our collective memory for better understanding and appreciation of one another.

Onitsha Mmili was known as Ado N’Idu, it was founded by one of the sons of Chima, the founder of Issele-Uku in western Igboland. The oldest child of Chima, a prince from the Great Benin Empire who emigrated throughout the Niger River to settle and found wat is now known as Onitsha.

Onitsha operates a traditional government similar to the Great Benin Empire headed by the Obi, the titular head of the town that is aided by Ndi Ichie, titled red cap elders or chiefs. There are also various other Ndi Ichie, that are rated 2nd course, understood as Ndi Okwa and third course, recognized as Ndi Ichie Okwareze.
When the ruling Obi joins his ancestors, the Onowu Iyasele takes charge till a brand-new Obi is enthroned. There are 9 teams of Kindred, (Ebo Etenani), making up Onitsha Ado council of chief-noblemen.


The background of Onitsha began with the movement of its people from the ancient Benin empire in the early part of the Sixteenth Century. The migration was as a result of a wave of variation, battle as well as agitation released by the Islamic motion from North Africa.

It was during their travels through Ile-Ife, another region of the Benin Empire that they got the name Onitsha, the mix of the two words, Onitsha for Orisha as well as Ado for Udo finished in the present name, Onitsha Ado.
It took numerous years before they finally reached Obior as well as Ilah as well as ultimately went across the River Niger and founded Onitsha. They stopped at numerous places in the after that Mid-West now called Delta State, locations like Agbor, Issele-Uku, and so on. This explains the affinity with the residents of Delta State like Ilah, Issele-Uku, Obbaamkpa, Onitsha-Olona, Onitsha Ugbo, Agbo, Obior, Onitsha Ukwu, and so forth.

After their arrival on the east financial institution (Onitsha-mmili, “Onitsha-on-water”), the area rapidly progresses from a loosely organized group of “imperial” villages to include “non-royal” villages making up Igala settlers, and also the native Igbos to develop a much more central entity. Onitsha gradually expanded to become an essential trading port for the Royal Niger Business in the mid-1850s adhering to the abolition of enslavement and also with the development of the heavy steam engine when Europeans were able to relocate into the hinterland.

Sales of Palm kernels, Rubber, hand oil, as well as other cash crops on the coastline of Bight of Benin boosted around this river port in the 19th century. In 1857 British hand oil traders developed a long-term terminal in the city with Christian promoters joining them, headed by the liberated African bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther (a Yoruba receptive) as well as Reverend John Taylor (an Igbo Recaptive). In 1900 Onitsha became part of a British protectorate. This is considered as one of the really primary steps by the British to infringe on Benin territory. The British colonial government and Christian missionaries penetrated a lot of Igboland to establish their management, colleges, and also churches through the river port at Onitsha.
Dennis Memorial Grammar School developed by the Anglican Church Mission Society in 1925.

A lot more immigrants from the hinterland of Igboland were drawn to the arising boom town as did the British investors that settled in Onitsha, as well as coordinated the cash crops and other professions.
In 1965, the Niger River Bridge was constructed across the Niger River to change the ferry going across. This has helped to expand trade routes with western Nigeria and also created substantial financial linkages between Onitsha as well as Benin City as well as Lagos specifically.

Source: Osayande Aghaze. US-Expert on Global Policy matters, and Human Rights.

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