WORLD WATER DAY EDITION: RIVERS IN NNEWI
Today being World water day, we remember stories told by our Grand Parents and great grandparents, stories about the various sources of water supply inherent in Nnewi community, even before the coming of the British and the advent of boreholes that we see around today. Our fathers had access to fresh water which they used for cooking, bathing, and laundry. Even though most of us were in existence these natural water supplies were very active in Nnewi, our aim with this write up is to refresh our memories by talking about the various rivers that used be in Nnewi.
Ubu river was located at Okofia in Nnewi, with its source passing through Nza-Ozubulu and Ihembosi where it joined Ulasi River. History has it that Ubu river “chased” Ulasi off her territory to avoid the drowning her children. The animals and reptiles that inhabit Ubu are held sacred throughout the flow of Ubu River. In return for her protection, the people of Ihembosi promised not to fish from Ubu. The pythons in and around Ihembosi (Eke Ubu) are revered as children of Ubu and are therefore not harmed.
Mmili-Ele is located beside Chicason factory at Uru-Umudim, Nnewi. its main source is Ubu river through Okofia. A big alligator is always seen under the bamboo tree, beside the river. It is believed that there is a spiritual covenant between the alligator and the people, anybody is free to be in close proximity with the alligator provided you don’t try to harm it or to be a source of discomfort to it .
This alligator always comes out to hunt and sun-bath in the day time. History has it that before the construction of that Mmili-Ele road, consultation with the Mmili-Ele chief priest and the appeasement of the water goddess was carried out before the road construction commenced.
Mmili-Eze is located at Okpuno-Eze URUAGU. An Isu historian, Dala Owulu recorded that when Prince Agbaja (the grandfather of Nnewi) left Nri and settled at Nkwo market, he went further to find a more permanent place to establish the NRI ancestral divinity. Prince Agbaja discovered a river and named the place “Okpuno-Eze”(the present Okpunoeze in URUAGU) and called the River “Eze”. This is the foundation of the Mmili Eze.
Mmili-Agu is located at Obiofia-Nnewichi. This stream is the only stream that can be located in Nnewichi. It serves the Nnewichi people as drinking water, as laundry water, and for another household cleaning. Presently, this stream has been swallowed up by the current mbize ( Erosion).
This stream is one of the most famous in Nnewi. This stream is located in Ndiakwu in Akamili, close to Eleodimuo’s premises. This source of water is so fresh for drinking, cooking, and laundry. The stream is covered with thick vegetation of leafy trees.
Mkpukpa stream according to Umudim tradition is not to be fetched on Eke day. One fierce story from our fathers has it that this stream is inhabited by dangerous water animals such as Eke Ogba (Python), Agwo Ichala (Rattle Snake), Echi Eteka (Mamba), Ubi (viper) and others, this has caused the villagers to be wary of this. Another animal that the villagers held sacred is a very big alligator which was over three meters long. It must be said that this alligator was harmless. History also has it that Mkpukpa stream was inhabited by a variety of small and colorful fishes. Nobody was allowed to catch or eat the fish because it was sacred.
This stream is still located at Akamili. It is the largest among other streams. It was called by that name because the water is the deepest, longest (100meters), stretching to the next village. During those good old days, villagers from Akamili cross to Umuezena through Ohu-awa-ogodo stream. When crossing the stream, the person must undress and hold his/her clothes above the head unless his/her clothes will be soaked.
Other streams in Nnewi include Amaiyi, Ukwaka, Nwaokereke, Mkpazi, Mmili agu and so on, Unfortunately, these streams are no more.