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We arrive in Asaba

July 2, 2010
From Liz Bird

Crossing the Niger bridge from Onitsha to Asaba

After a productive and extremely hospitable visit, we leave Nsukka, and head to Asaba. Asaba is a quiet town that sits on the west bank of the river Niger, across the bridge from the city of Onitsha, which is famous for both its giant market and its high crime rate. That’s one of the reasons the road from Onitsha to Enugu/Nsukka is so dangerous; at night, armed gangs are known to set up their own makeshift roadblocks, or take advantage of the numerous potholes to slow vehicles and mug their occupants.

 We cross the river unscathed, and reach Asaba — the capital of Delta State and the place we’ll be for the next few days. We’re looking forward to seeing friends made last time, and to speaking with more witnesses to the 1967 killings. Our journey so far has taken us from Lagos to Benin by air, then up to Nsukka (just north of Enugu) by land, and then back to Asaba.  (For a map of Nigeria, showing location of Lagos, Asaba/Onitsha, and Enugu, go to

A typical side street in Asaba

In 1967, Asaba was a community of about 10,000, made up of five villages, or quarters. The villages remain, but the population has grown considerably, although precise numbers are hard to come by. For the most part, the roads in Asaba are unpaved, and lined by open drains. Wealthy Asabans reside in compounds surrounded by walls and high gates, while most of the population live in small houses, with corrugated iron roofs. Unlike in Lagos, foreigners are scarce, and we inevitably attract attention. However, that attention is curious, not hostile; we’re constantly  greeted with a cheerful “welcome!”  

Wherever we go, local kids gather, often inviting us to take their picture

Asaba street scene

One Comment leave one →
  1. udemezue nkiru permalink
    July 30, 2013 6:04 pm

    Asaba Is a place to live.but no good road7

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