PEOPLE, POPULATION AND SETTLEMENT

Posted by on 1/29/2003 9:11:15 AM
Post Comment PEOPLE, POPULATION AND SETTLEMENT Nigeria

People And Culture:

Ethnically, the people of the state are lgbo, who are widely known to be very resourceful, hardworking, sociable, friendly, accom modating, peace loving, and law abiding. They are highly enterprising and are reputed for their busi ness acumen. Skilled manpower resources are readily available in every field of human endeavour. The language of the people is lgbo, but English is widely spoken.

The state has a rich cultural heritage Archaeological discoveries at Ezira (Hartle, 1967) and at lgboUkwu (Shaw, 1970) reveal great works of art in iron, bronze, copper, and pottery works, dated ninth century AD, and belonging to the ancient Nri kingdom. Long before AD 800, the Nri people had developed an advanced political organ isation that culminated in divine kingship (Jeffreys, 1935 and Onwuejeogwu, 1981). The authority of

the Eze (King) of Nri, widely acknowledged in tradi tional lgboland, led to the establishment of the Nri theocratic hegemony, stretching from beyond Agbor, west of the Niger, to east of Okigwe on the eastern side of the Niger and to Owerri. Eze Nri had control over the Ozo and Eze titles and all ritu als of abrogation or enactment of taboos, cleansing of abomination , and so on. While it lacked mili tarism, the Nri was widely acknowledged as a craft industrial centre.

Though the hegemony began a steady decline between 1400 and 1700 and, in 1911, the British colonial administration finally pro scribed Nri ritual and political activities, yet the cul ture and works of art, fostered by the hegemony still survive in the blacksmithery, iron mongery, bronze works, wood and ivory carving in Awka; ivory works and carving of ritual objects, and ritualistic arts of theAdama inAdaziNnukwu and Nri; blacksmithing and carving in Agulu; pottery works in Abba and EnuguAgidi; bronze works and blacksmithery in OraErii and other parts of the state. The ritualistic culture in the State has been struggling to survive the assault of Christianity.

Population And Settlement Pattern:

According to the 1991 national population census, the state has a total population of 2,796,475 in a land area of 4,416 sq. km, giving an average densi ty of 633 persons per sq. km. The state is, there fore, one of the most densely populated states in Nigeria. The distribution of the population by local government areas is shown in Table 4.1. The fol lowing LGAs Onitsha (3,771 persons per sq. km), Idemili (1,448), Aguata (1,420), Njikoka (1,379), and Nnewi (738) have more than average population densities for the state.

They are also the major commercial centres and areas of growing industrial development. Conversely, Anambra (167), Awka North (170), Oyi (216), Ogbaru (360), and Orumba (488) have less than average density. These local government areas are located on the flood plains, where farming and fishing are dominant occupa tions.

Because dry land for settlement is limited to the undulations and narrow ridges above the flood plains, such areas have small settlement nucle ations. On the cuestas, especially the dip slopes, the settlement pattern is essentially dispersed; but increasing urbanization as well as population growth have given rise to large cities such as Onitsha, Nnewi, Okpoko, Obosi, Nkpor and Awka. The "northern part of the dip slope of the higher cuesta is a region of large, closely spaced merging settlements.

Urban and Rural Development:

The major urban centres of state are Onitsha including Okpoko (361,574), Nnewi (121,065), and Awka (58,225). Awka and Onitsha developed as pre colonial urban centres. Awka was the craft industri al centre of the Nri hegemony; and Onitsha the city

state on the Niger and a river port and commercial centre. As at present, Onitsha is the premier city of the state. It is a fastgrowing commercial city, with one of the largest markets in West Africa. Nnewi (the Taiwan of Nigeria) is a rapidly developing industrial and commercial centre; and Awka, by becoming the state capital is, as it were, regaining its precolonial eminence.

Going by the demographic definition of an urban centre as an agglomeration of 20,000 or more inhabitants, there are thirtyeight urban cen tres in the state, which has a total population of 1,685,534, giving a level of urbanization of sixty percent. Twentyone of the thirtyeight urban cen tres in the region are almost bounded by the major urban centres, Onitsha, Nnewi, Awka, and Otuocha. In this region, rapidly expanding urban and rural settlements have merged, forming a conurbation area covering over 1,075 km, in which one passes imperceptibly from one city to another.

This is also the region of concentration for industrial and com mercial activities in the state. Through community development efforts and private initiatives, most rural communities in the state have supplemented government efforts by providing additional social amenities. The rural set tlements are fast growing in spite of considerable migration from the rural areas of the state. Indigenes of the state are found throughout the fed eration and are engaged in various types of busi ness. There is also migration from other parts of the state which are experiencing migration to the OnitshaNnewi AwkaOtuocha region.




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