|Nickname(s): Ani Mmili|
|• Total||268 km2 (103 sq mi)|
|Population (2006 census)|
|• Estimate (2011)||176,060|
|• Density||560/km2 (1,400/sq mi)|
Asaba (Igbo: Àhàbà) is a city strategically located on a hill at the western edge of the Niger River, overlooking its sister city, Onitsha, across the Niger Bridge. It is the capital of Nigeria's Delta State. A fast developing urban area, Asaba had a population of 149,603 as at the 2006 census, and a metropolitan population of over half a million people.
The city of Asaba was once the colonial capital of the Southern Nigeria Protectorate. It was founded in 1884. Between 1886 and 1900, it hosted the Royal Niger Company, which the British authorities set up to stimulate trade and the exportation of goods to England. That company has grown today into the UAC Nigeria PLC. Scottish explorer William B. Balkie, when signing a trade treaty with Igbo chief Ezebogo in Asaba on August 30, 1885, remarked "After our salutations, I spoke of friendship, of trade, and of education, and particularly enlarged upon the evils of war, and the benefits of peace, all of which was well received".:318
Owing to Asaba's influential history and geography, and current strategic political and economic influence in Nigeria, Asaba is generally known as the regional capital of the Anioma area. The clamour for creation of Anioma state has been going on for decades.
Asaba is situated on a terrace of the lower Niger River, overlooking the point where the Anambra River flows into it. Beyond the river banks, on the high plains which are far more extensive than the river basins, secondary forest vegetation flourishes. The historic Niger River is a trans-African link beginning from West Africa and down into the Atlantic Ocean. Asaba forms a connector between western, eastern and northern Nigeria through the Niger River from the north and via the Asaba Niger Bridge, an east-west link and a Nigerian landmark.
Asaba lies approximately 60 degrees north of the equator and about the same distance east of the meridian; about 160 kilometres (100 mi) north of where the River Niger flows into the Atlantic Ocean. The greater Asaba occupies an area of about 300 square kilometers. It maintains an average tropical temperature of 32 °C during the dry season and an average fertile rainfall of 2,700 millimetres (106 in) during the rainy season.
Asaba is traditionally led by the highly revered Asagba of Asaba, to whom the head (“Diokpa”) of each of the five Ebos reports directly into on matters affecting Asaba. Greater Asaba includes some of the other neighbouring indigenous Igbo communities—Ogwashi Ukwu, Igbuzo, Okpanam and Oko —on the western section of the Niger River.
Since becoming the administrative capital of Delta State, Asaba has grown in population to over half a million very hospitable people. Today, it maintains a cosmopolitan population of predominantly non-indigenous people. Some of the other groups in the city include Urhobo, Isoko, Ijaw, Ukwuani, Hausa, Itsekiri and Yoruba people.
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