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Ariaria: Nigeria’s Commercial Market Centre

Word: Eritomi Ortega

At about seven a.m., the city of Port Harcourt comes alive. People begin their everyday life and start going about their businesses. I woke up on my bed in my one bedroom apartment in Port Harcourt, got myself all cleaned up and took a cab to Rumuola, Old Aba road.  This part of Port Harcourt is usually busy, with a strong urgency that is always clear to see. Ariaria and Azikiwe road are the two major stops, and you would always hear the shuttle conductors scream these names out- so I boarded a bus and off I was to the commercial city of Aba.

Aba is a city in the southeastern part of Nigeria and the commercial center of Abia State. Aba was established by the Ngwa clan of Igbo People as a market town and then later a military post was placed there by the British Colonial Administration in 1901.

Aba is known to own an intersection of roads that lead to Owerri, Ikot, Port Harcourt and Umuahia, this made it a collection point for agriculture during the colonial era. Also famously known for the aba women riot, a protest that started as a peaceful protest and eventually as a march against oppression and taxation. Aba is also the home of Eyimba football club of Nigeria.

Ariaria market is located in the heart of aba, this is considered the largest market in West Africa, followed by the Onitsha main market, popularly called the “China of Africa” because of its versatility in the making of wears, leather works as well as palm oil production (located in the city also is a brewery and distillery). The people of Aba are very friendly and business oriented. Aba is no doubt the manufacturing capital of West Africa, ranging from small scale items to industrial production, with a high standard and top notch quality. Aside from production, they also stand out with a distinctive music style, which is a fusion of native and highlife sounds.  Another interesting feature of the Aba people is their keen eye for arts, and this interest is seen all over the beautiful fabrics and items that come from that part of the country.

Finally, I must say the efficiency of the market is almost unbelievable, with so much creativity and skills, and this is why the Ariaria market will always stand out- the constant innovations is nothing short of amazing.


Manufacturing and Products in Aba         

Shoe Manufacturing

Leather and Fabric

Building Materials

Food Items



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