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Nightlife in Benin City: A tourist’s wonder

Benin City is a city (2006 with an estimated population of 1,147,188) and the capital of Edo State in southern Nigeria. It is a city approximately 25 miles north of the Benin River. It is situated 200 miles by road, east of Lagos. Benin is the centre of Nigeria’s rubber industry, but processing palm nuts for oil is also an important traditional industry. 

History

The mythic origins of Benin state that the city was originally under the rule of Ogisos, meaning “Kings of the Sky”. When the last Ogiso died, the nobles and chiefs disagreed over who would be the next Ogiso, so the Benin sent a message to Ife to the Ooni of Ile-Ife. Oba Oduduwa, the mythic ancient first king of Ife. The Benin pleaded with him to send them a king; eventually Oduduwa sent to them his grandson, prince Oranmiyan. When Oranmiyan came to Benin, he struggled with the culture and customs of the Benin people. Because of his own difficulties acclimating to his new kingdom, Oba Oranmiyan changed the name of the city to Ile-Ibinu (1180-1897) which in the Yoruba language means the “Land of Vexation,” and decided to leave the city. However, before leaving Benin, Oranmiyan had a son, Eweka, by princess Erewinde who could not talk. When Oranmiyan heard of this, he sent to him seven marbles for the child to play with. One day, as the prince was playing, one of the marbles broke. He immediately said “owomika!” or “eweka!”, meaning “I succeeded!” He immediately became the first true Oba of Benin, Oba Eweka I. Oba Eweka was the first to reject the title of the native Benin “Ogiso” and took the title “Oba,” meaning ‘king’ in the Yoruba language. Allegedly Oba Eweka later changed the name of the city of Ile-Binu, the capital of the Benin kingdom, to “Ubinu.” This name would be reinterpreted by the Portuguese as “Benin” in their own language. Around 1470, Ewuare changed the name of the state to Edo. This was about the time the people of Okpekpe migrated from Benin City.

Read more: Nightlife in Benin City: A tourist’s wonder

Oguta Lake: Septic pool for domestic, urban sewage

Oguta Lake is the largest natural lake in Imo State and is supposed to have originated from a natural depression. This region is located within the equatorial rain forest belt with an average annual rainfall of 3,100 mm, but most of the rain forest has been replaced by oil palm plantations especially around the lake. 

The lake has a high diversity of phytoplankton community. It contains as many as 258 species of phytoplankton which fall in 107 genera (Omin, 1983). Despite this diversity of phytoplankton, the estimated level of primary productivity of 160-279 mg C m-3 day-1 (Egi, 1983) is generally low. This may be the reason for the low level of fishery production estimated at 12.5 metric tons yr-1 (Ita & Balogun, 1983).

The lake is of immense value to the people of Oguta, Orsu, Nkwesi and Awo. In fact, the lake is the identity and pride of the Ogutaman. They draw their water from it. They ob-tain 80% of their protein from it. It has been observed that a total of 2,403 full-time fishermen and 154 part-time fishermen operate in the lake. The lake serves as a septic pool for domestic urban sewage. The local people also dredge the lake for sand which is used for the construction industry. The Oguta Lake Motel with a tourist resort is a 3-star hotel aimed at attracting tourists to Oguta. In the colonial era, the Oguta Lake was a port for the evacuation of palm products. The relics of the jetties used by the United African Company (U. A. C.) still exist today. During the civil war, the Oguta Lake was a marine base for the Biafran Navy.

Read more: Oguta Lake: Septic pool for domestic, urban sewage

Savour the lush pasture green vegetation of Mambilla Plateau

The Mambilla plateau is a high grassland Plateau which is a part and extension of the Adamawa, Obudu, Shebbi and Atlantic mountain chain. The Mambilla Plateau, which lies to the southern edge of Taraba State, is renowned for its rich scenic beauty. It stands at well over 1,830 metres above sea level and has a temperate climate with lush pasture green vegetation. The access route up the Plateau and the canyons is a breath-taking delight, with snake – like winding road that ascends the Plateau and natural springs that turn off through rocks adorning the road. There is also a spectacular bridge suspended over a valley. The Plateau is one of the few places in the federation where temperate plants like Apples, Pears, Arabica Coffee, Strawberries, Tea and Irish Potatoes grow very well. The whole area is Tsetse fly and Mosquito free with more than 2 million herds of cattle.

The Mambilla plateau is a high grassland plateau with an average elevation of about 1,524 metres (5,000 ft) above sea level, making it the highest plateau in Nigeria. The plateau which has an undulating landscape free of insects also has temperate climate within a tropical region.

Located in the highland region of Taraba State of Nigeria, Mambilla plateau houses Chappal Waddi mountain considered as the highest point in Nigeria and probably in West Africa with an average height of about 2,419 metres (7,936 ft) above sea level.

As soon as one reaches the top of the mountain, the hot weather witnessed at the foot of the mountain disappears and you will be greeted by fresh and very chilled breeze blowing across the plateau.

Read more: Savour the lush pasture green vegetation of Mambilla Plateau

See the African gorilla at Cross River National Park

The Cross River National Park is located in Cross River State, Nigeria. There are two separate sections, Okwangwo (established 1991) and Oban (established 1988). The park has a total area of about 4,000 km2, most of which consists of primary moist tropical rainforests in the North and Central parts, with mangrove swamps on the coastal zones. Parts of the park belong to the Guinea-Congolian region, with a closed canopy and scattered emergent trees reaching 40 or 50 meters in height. 

The park has one of the oldest rainforests in Africa, and has been identified as a biodiversity hot spot. Sixteen primate species have been recorded in the park. Rare primates include common chimpanzees, drills and (in Okwangwo) Cross River gorillas. Another primate, the gray-cheeked mangabey, seems to have recently become extinct in the area. 

Both divisions of the park are threatened by illegal logging, slash and burn farming and poaching. Eco-tourism may support efforts to preserve the park fauna. Assisting villagers in buffer zones to practice sustainable forestry also holds promise. 

Read more: See the African gorilla at Cross River National Park

Niger and Benue Rivers confluence: Nature’s magnificent marriage

The river Niger remained a wonder to the first Europeans who set foot on Nigeria’s soil until John and Richard Landers passed through the confluence on October 25th 1830 thereby completing the journey that Mungo Park had started. Rivers Niger and Benue are the two largest rivers in West Africa.

The two rivers meet at Lokoja in Kogi state, forming a Y-shaped structure in what appears to be a magnificent union and draining southwards into the ocean. While River Niger is brownish in colour, River Benue is light green in colour. Fishing is carried on extensively on the rivers. There are ferry and boat services plus cruising facilities within view of the confluence. The sole aim is to make it a pleasurable delight to visitors, both foreign and local, thus boosting the tourism industry, the economy and the level of social interaction in the state.

Kogi is a state in the north central zone of Nigeria. It is popularly called the confluence state due to the fact that the confluence of Rivers Niger and Benue naturally occurs there. Its capital is Lokoja. There are three main Ethnic groups in the Kogi namely Igala, Ebira and Okun and the people are mostly Hausas and Yorubas with the Igalas being the largest ethnic group in the State. The majority of the people of the state are farmers. 

Read more: Niger and Benue Rivers confluence: Nature’s magnificent marriage

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