Nnewi is located in Anambra state, South East Nigeria and is
the second largest city in the state and an abode for over 300,000 people. Bustling
with life dawn to dusk, it is a choice place to live, work and transact on various
products and services. Currently planning to move to Nnewi, these are ten
things you should know.

  1. It is a Commercial and an
    Industrial City

Nnewi popularly called ‘The Japan of Africa” is a commercial
city with large economic activities going on a daily basis. Next to Onitsha, it
is an economic hub for commerce, industry and trade in Anambra State. There are
numerous large and small markets in the town including Nkwo Nnewi which is one
of the largest auto and motocycle spare parts market in West African.  Majority of residents of Nnewi are traders specialized
in auto and motorcycle importation and spare parts distribution. The motorcycle
market at Nnewi has developed to the extent that dealers in collaboration with
their manufactures now have products made and sold in local branded names.
Local technicians are equally equipped to carry out maintenance, repair and
provide service support to customers. The love for auto industry by Nnewi
people may be said to have started as far back as 1912 when SIR LOUIS OJUKWU,
the father of Dim CHUKWUEMEKA ODUMEGWU OJUKWU (Ikemba Nnewi) made history as the
first Igbo man to own and drive a car.
To fulfill the needs of its auto market by local production,
Chief Innocent Chukwuma an industrious son of the soil sited an automobile
manufacturing plant in the city. Thus Nnewi is home to the only Indigenous Auto
Manufacturer in Nigeria Innosen Vehicle Manufacturing Company Limited that
produces the IVM brand. IVM, the pride of the city has put Nnewi in the
limelight for the past 5-6years producing sedans, SUVs, vans and buses. The company
has also ventured into producing armored vehicles and maintenance of aircrafts.
Apart from the vibrant auto industry, Nnewi industrialist
manufactures products which range from agrochemicals to plastics, electric
cables etc. Some other manufacturing industries operating at Nnewi includes
Life Vegetable Oil and AZ Oil of the Chikason Group, Ibeto group of companies,
Coscharis Group, Louis Carter Group, Cutix Plc, Uru Industries etc.

  1. Both a City and Two Local Governments

Nnewi is not just a city but also a combo of two local
government areas; Nnewi North and Nnewi South. Nnewi town or Nnewi Central is basically
made up of autonomous communities of Otolo,Uruagu, Umudim and Nnewichi. These four
large communities and a neighbouring community Ichi, make up Nnewi North local
government area with their headquarters at Umudim. The sister local government Nnewi
South encompasses communities like Ukpo, Amichi,Utuh,Osumenyi, Unubi etc with
their headquarters at Ukpo. Nnewi North and South Local government areas make
up the Metropolitan area of the city. However, resident generally refer to only
the Central area as Nnewi while other communities are known by their respective

  1. The Powerful Traditional
    Government Institution

Nnewi is governed by a traditional monarch known as Igwe.
While every autonomous community in Nnewi Central has an Obi(individual
community traditional ruler), the Obi of Otolo who is invariably the  Igwe is the head of all the Obi’s and the
holder of the ofo the cultural, political and religious symbol of leadership. The
present Igwe of Nnewi,HRH Igwe Kenneth Onyeneke Orizu III  is the longest serving monarch in Nigeria and
a highly respected first class chief in Anambra State. Igweship in Nnewi is by
inheritance thus the mantle of leaderships is neither electable nor negotiable.
 Power is transferred from the King to
his son, the crowned Prince at death. Annually, the Igwe hold a cultural
festival known as Ofala festival to celebrate his coronation. This festival is
attended by dignitaries from in and outside the country.

  1. The Culture of not Killing
    Eke and Eating Ewi

At Nnewi, it is forbidden to kill “eke”, a type of
python, or to eat “ewi,” a rodent of rabbit family. Edo, the goddess which
is the supreme deity of all the deities in Nnewi outlaws it. It was believed
that the rodent played a great role in saving Nnewi people during the time of wars.  The python on the other hand is said to be a totem
of the goddess. If anyone intentionally or accidentally killed these animals,
they are punished according to the traditional judicial system. The punishment
usually involves paying a fine and performing some rituals to appease the gods.
The ancient warring community is also referred to as Anaedo (the land of Edo) so
residents and visitors despite their religion inclination are expected to abide
by this law in honour of the goddess of the land.

  1. Igbo Language is the Major
    Language for Communication

Residents of Nnewi are majority Igbos thus they generally
speak the Igbo language. Although, majority of dweller have at least basic
education and can communicate in English or pidgin English, Igbo language still
remain the major language of communication. Visitors or residents who do not
understand the language will always have to request for people to speak English
when he/her goes to the market, hospital or any public places. Public functions
are not exempted as Anambra State government champion the battle to keep Igbo language
alive by the use of Igbo language at state events and other public functions. It
is advisable that any resident who intend to work and engage in business
activities on long term basis learn to speak some basic Igbo language as this
will facilitate his/her stay. There are study centres in Nnewi Central where
one can easily enroll to learn the Igbo language at very little cost. Also, friends,
associates and neighbours may be willing to assist one who is willing to learn
the language at no cost.

  1. Bike and Motorcycles are Everywhere

As funny as this may sound, it is very important that anyone
who plans to move to Nnewi be fully aware that motorcycles are everywhere in
the city. The overcrowding of bikes in this municipal cannot be compared to
what you have in any other city in Nigeria including what we had before the ban
of commercial motorcycles in Lagos. One is 95percent more likely to be knocked
down by a motorcycle in Nnewi than a car. Typically, people of Nnewi love to
move around in motorcycles. Although, commercial motorcycle popularly known as
Okada is a major means of transportation in the city, every household in Nnewi
is believed to own at least two lightweight motorcycles which has been
nicknamed Nwanyi Nnewi (Nnewi Woman).  Some
families are said to have up to five or six bikes.  This quest for bike may not be unconnected to
the availability of the product at affordable prices as the city plays hosts to
a large motorcycle market and an indigenous auto manufacturing plant churning
out bikes. The bright side is that the use of motorcycle gives easy access to areas
with poor road network where cars will find difficult to navigate.

  1. There’s Little Opportunity
    for White Collar Jobs

Apart from schools, banks, hotels, hospitals, government
institutions and some industries that may offer employment, white collar jobs is
farfetched in the city. Nnewi is not necessary a place where unemployed graduates
troop to look for job like we have in big cities like Lagos or Port Harcourt.
Opportunity to attend employment assessment and interviews are very limited. Private
institutions are more likely to employ people based on referral and
recommendation than through the normal recruitment processes. Graduates who intend
to build a career in fields like software development, business administration,
taxation, may not thrive in city. Most of the readily available jobs are for
school leavers who are usually employed as secretaries, store man and shop
assistants by individual traders at wages which may not appeal to graduate job
seekers. Blue collar jobs like mechanic, carpentry, masonry, fabrication, welding,
driving are easier to come by.

  1. Residents are Majority

Residents of Nnewi metropolitan city are majority Christians.
Dwellers are very religious and attend more of first generation churches, Catholic
and Anglican Churches. There is Diocese of Nnewi for both the Catholics and the
Anglicans. Each of the two major faiths has a large cathedral and also a resident
presiding Bishop.  Pentecostal churches are
not left out as they also have a decent share of the population. Other
religions like Islam, Jewish are in the minority. Adherents of religions like Buddhism
and Hinduism may not have an existing place of worship in the city as such
religion is strange to the people. Even Traditional religion which is the major
religion of the people before the coming of the white Christian missionaries is
no longer popular.  Although freedom of
worship as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution is practiced in the city, one
who practices another religion apart from Christianity may find it tough to propagate
his/her faith in this new abode.

  1. Cost of Living is Cheap

The overall cost of living in Nnewi is affordable when compared
to the cost of living in cities of similar nature. Housing is available in
flats, duplex, self-contain apartments, single and double rooms and is very
affordable. House owners’ are also very humane and considerate to old tenants
who could not afford rents and can offer flexible payment plan of half year, quarterly
or even monthly payment as against the normal yearly rent renewal. Cost of
foods like yam, rice, cassava, cocoyam, three leave yam, palm oil, maize etc.  are inexpensive as they are either locally
produced or bought from nearby farming communities of Anambra state. Green
leafy vegetables are grown by residents’ in home gardens and farms and are very
affordable. A plate of delicious food in a local restaurant cost between
250-500 naira. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and groceries are reasonably priced.
Source of drinking water is mainly bore holes which are drilled in individual
compounds or sachet water which are not costly. Cost of transportation (bus, taxi,
bike etc.) depends on your negotiation power but is within reach.
Childcare and Schooling costs are also not on the very high
side. Although Tuition fees for good private schools are not outrageous, parents
who cannot afford them have options of good public schools where their children
can still get quality education. Working mums can get elderly women as nannies
at affordable rates. Clothing is generally inexpensive. Health facilities are
available and cost of accessing care very reasonable.  Facilities such as government health centres
administer antenatal care, conducts child delivery, post natal care,
immunization at little cost. There is also a federal university teaching
hospital Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH) in the city where
patients can access excellent and specialist health services at low costs. Cost
of utilities, relaxation and entertainment is also within means.

  1. Afia Olu Festival

Every year towards the end of August which is usually the
end of rainy season and the season for harvesting yams, Afia Olu Nnewi which is
the Nnewi version of the Igbo new yam festival is celebrated in the city.
During this festival, indigenous sons and daughters travel from far and wide
for reunion and to celebrate with members of their families. The festival takes
place for a week, Monday through Sunday with Saturday being the climax. Afia
Olu Nnewi features cultural displays including rituals by the Monarch and
elders of the land, dance by men, women, youth and children groups,
masquerades, beauty pageant etc. Before the festival, there is usually a press
release stipulating the rules for the festival especially for masquerades.
Despite this ,their presence all over the city constitute  a problem for residents  as these masquerades moves around the city
with canes of different sizes which they use on their rival groups and men
within their age grade. As a show of strength and resilience, young men are expected
when confronted to take up the challenge to withstand flogging from these
masquerades while onlookers cheer in the process. Residents offer money to
these masquerades to appease them and escape being flogged or to appreciate
them for the entertainment.
The sight of frightened young school children running away
from fierce looking masquerades in the metropolis is very common during this
festival and this poses a hazard as they can be knocked down by vehicles.  Members of the public especially the female
folks who by Igbo tradition are not expected to stand before mmuo (spirit of
the ancestors) also gets hot chase by these masquerades. Some callous young men
go as far as flogging and frightening young women who turned down their love advances
in the past. In addition, there have been cases of street fights, stabbing with
sharp objects, severe flogging to cause bodily injury, robbing people and alleged
harmful voodoo practices by these masquerades. Culprits when caught are handed
over to local vigilante groups and police.

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