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Motto: Heartland
Owerri indicated in a map of Nigeria
Owerri indicated in a map of Nigeria
Owerri in Nigeria
Coordinates: 5°29′06″N 7°02′06″E / 5.485°N 7.035°E / 5.485; 7.035Coordinates: 5°29′06″N 7°02′06″E / 5.485°N 7.035°E / 5.485; 7.035
Country  Nigeria
State Imo
LGA Owerri Municipal, Owerri North, Owerri West
 • Type Executive Chairman-Council
 • Governing body Local Government Council
 • Party {APC } (NIGERIA)
 • Chairman Emma Odor (Owerri Municipal); Henry Njoku (Owerri North); Henry Onwukwe (Owerri West)
Population (2006)[2]
 • Total 751,873 (estimated)
  Disputed estimate
Time zone WAT (UTC+1)
Postcode 460...[3]
Area code(s) 083
Website http://www.imostate.gov.ng/

Owerri (/ˈwɛr/ oh-WERR-ee,[4] Igbo: Owèrrè)[5] is the capital of Imo State in Nigeria, set in the heart of Igboland.[6] Owerri consists of three Local Government Areas including Owerri Municipal, Owerri North and Owerri West, it has an estimated population of about 750,000 as of 2006[2] and is approximately 100 square kilometres (40 sq mi) in area. Owerri is bordered by the Otamiri River to the east and the Nworie River to the south.[7]

The Owerri Slogan is Heartland. It is currently referred to as the entertainment capital of Nigeria and is home to an annual beauty pageant called "Miss Heartland".


Owerri was the last of four capitals of the Republic of Biafra in 1969. The capital of the secessionist state was continuously being moved as Nigerian troops captured the older capitals. Enugu, Aba, and Umuahia were the other capitals before Owerri. Present-day Owerri does contain some statuary memorializing the war, particularly in locations which suffered heavy bombing, but most war artifacts and history are located in the museum at Umuahia, Aba State.

Traditional Ruler[edit]

His Royal Highness, Eze Dr. Emmanuel Emenyonu Njemanze is the current Ozuruigbo of Owerri. The stool of the Eze Owere was founded in the 14th century when the first Owerri traditional ruler, Eze Eke Onunwa was installed. Other traditional rulers in the same royal lineage are Eze Okorie Onunwa, Eze Njemanze Okorie Onunwa, Ihemeji Njemanze Iheanacho, Eze Johnson Osuji Njemanze and Eze Onwuegbuchlem Njemanze.[citation needed]

Transport and Trade[edit]

Owerri has an airport 23 kilometres (14 mi) southeast of the city, called the Imo Airport, located in Obiangwu, Ngor Okpala LGA. The Airport (Sam Mbakwe Airport) provides flight services to Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Enugu. Right now, it serves as an alternate for Port Harcourt. Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport is now an International Cargo Airport. Some major roads that go through the city are; Port Harcourt Rd., Aba Rd., Onitsha Rd., and Okigwe Rd. Roads within the city are; Douglas Rd., Weathral Rd., Tetlow Rd., and Works Rd. Eke Ukwu Owere market is the main market in Owerri.

Owerri sits in the rain forest and produces many agricultural products, such as yams, cassava, taro, corn, rubber and palm products. Owerri also sits on huge crude oil and natural gas reserves like most of the Igbo land areas.


Important educational institutions in Owerri include Imo State University, Federal University of Technology Owerri, Imo State Polytechnic Umuagwo, Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, African Institute of Science and Technology (AIST CCE Owerri), Federal College of Land Resources Oforola, Seat of Wisdom Seminary Owerri, Alvan Ikoku College of Education, Methodist High school, Government Training College, Federal Government Girls College Owerri, Owerri Girls Secondary School, Government Secondary School Owerri, Development Secondary School Owerri, Emmanuel College Owerri, Holy Ghost College Owerri, Community Secondary School Oforola Owerri, Federal Polytechnic Nekede Owerri, Government Technical college Owerri, Army Day Secondary School Obinze Owerri MSME Business School Aladinma Housing Estate, Owerri etc.


Former Inter Milan, Arsenal, Portsmouth F.C. striker and Nigeria national football team player Nwankwo Kanu was born in Owerri.


Christianity is the dominant religion in Owerri. Catholics and Anglicans have the largest followings and Owerri is home to Assumpta Cathedral, the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese in Owerri (Latin: Archidioecesis Overriensis) and the Seat of Wisdom Seminary. The archdiocese covers an area of 2,996 square kilometres. 670,986 of the 1.7 million people in the area are members of the Catholic Church. All Saints Cathedral, Egbu is the first and Largest Anglican Church in Owerri and the home of first Igbo translated Bible.

Twin cities[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Imo State Local Government Areas - Sole Administrators". Imo State Government. Retrieved 2010-07-05. 
  2. ^ a b Summing the 3 LGAs making up Owerri as per:
    Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette (15 May 2007). "Legal Notice on Publication of the Details of the Breakdown of the National and State Provisional Totals 2006 Census" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-07-04. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  3. ^ "Nipost Postcode Map". Nigerian Postal Service. Retrieved 2010-05-08. 
  4. ^ "Owerri". Encarta World English Dictionary. Microsoft. Retrieved 2010-07-03. 
  5. ^ Egbokhare, Francis O.; Oyetade, S. Oluwole (2002). Harmonization and standardization of Nigerian languages. CASAS. p. 106. ISBN 1-919799-70-2. 
  6. ^ "Encyclopædia Britannica". 2007-04-07. 
  7. ^ Alex D.W. Acholonu (2008). "Water quality studies of Nworie River in Owerri, Nigeria". Mississippi Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 2009-10-14.