For a visitor or tourist, Abia State, which has the sobriquet, God's Own State, will surely evoke some worthwhile memories.
The state, located in the South East of Nigeria was carved out of the old Imo State on August 27, 1991 . The state's name, Abia, is derived from four main regions of Aba, Bende, Isuikwuato and Afikpo. The first letters of the four regions were taken to form ABIA. However, Afikpo was later pulled out of the state to form part of Ebonyi State.
Abia has 17 local government areas, and these are Aba North, Aba South, Arochukwu, Bende, Ikwuano, Isiala Ngwa North, Isiala Ngwa South, Isuikwuato, Obi Ngwa, Ohafia, Osisioma Ngwa, Ugwunagbo, Ukwa East, Ukwa West, Umuahia North, Umuahia South and Umu Nneochi.
The state's capital is Umuahia, and its major commercial city remains Aba, which once served as a former British Colonial Government outpost.
Abia State occupies about 5,834 square kilometres and is bounded on the north and north east by Anambra State, Enugu State and Ebonyi State. To the west of Abia is Imo State, to the east and southeast are Cross River State and Akwa Ibom State, and to the south is Rivers State.
Several places abound to excite visitors and tourists. Below are the five top tourist attractions that one will find very fascinating:
*National War Museum, Umuahia
This is located at Ebite Amafor in Isingwu autonomous community of Umuahia North LGA. The war museum was commissioned in 1985 to showcase weapons, artillery and other equipment of civil warfare deployed during the pre-colonial wars and during the Nigeria-Biafra Civil War.
Built on a wide expanse of undulating hill, the museum has three galleries of pre- colonial weaponry used during past civil wars. The first gallery has relics of traditional warfare, the second has the relics of war in past conflicts involving the Armed Forces, and the third gallery hosts weapons of war used during the Nigerian Civil War of 1967-1970.
* National Museum of Colonial History, Aba
This contains historical information on the development of Nigeria through the colonial era to post-independence. The museum with rich artefacts was established in 1984. It equally previews several relics of the slave trade and collections that marked Nigeria's evolvement as a nation.
It captures European imperialism as well as the chronological sequence of past rulers in Nigeria vis-a-vis the rise of nationalism, struggles and demands which transpired before Nigeria attained independence.
Azumini Blue River
The Blue River at Azumini town in Ukwa East LGA of Abia State is fascinating. The water of the river sparkles blue and has shiny stones. It hosts sporting activities like boating, yachting, fishing, swimming and sling.
* Arochukwu Cave
The famous Arochukwu cave in Arochukwu LGA in Abia State has several outlets and secret places within its recesses. Some parts of the outlets are dark as many of them are dark inside because they are located hundreds of yards from the main entrance.
The cave was used by local chiefs during the slave trade to keep slaves that were to be sold off to European buyers and elders also held court sessions to deliberate consultative issues within the confines of the ancient cave. Another beauty to the cave is the Iyi-eke stream which flows within it. It has "destiny gateâ€ as well as the "gate of no returnâ€ - this represents the route of exit into slavery.
* Akwete Weavers
This is located in Ukwa East LGA. The Akwete town is barely 25 minutes drive from Aba for a drive through the Enugu-Port Harcourt Road. Using fabricated handlooms, local weavers in this town weave the famous Akwete cloth which is traditionally worn by chiefs and other men of titles during festivals and other cultural events. The weavers use cotton and silk to weave beautiful cloth designs as well as head-gears and other items of fashion.