This is Waterside River located in God’s Own State city of Aba. The river runs through the Enyimba city. It is a tributary of Imo river and has its headquarters in Okpu-Umuobo in the Ngwa heartland.
A popular Afro beat star, Fela Kuti, sang in his song that water has got no enemy as it continues to flow on its own to reunite with its kinds. Such is the case of the Aba Waterside river. It flows almost round the city by touching at the ends of many popular streets and roads in Aba before joining the coast of rivers in Rivers state.
The river has been of greater service to the commercial city of Aba. The commercial inclination of the Enyimba city is second to none in the Southeastern Nigeria and beyond. There is a belief among Aba residents which is the utilization of every opportunity, whether odd or even. The river has attracted so many businesses. The first amongst many is an Abattoir, where cows and cattle are slaughtered. The Abattoir is located at the bank of the flowing river around the valley of east by park road, adjacent to Ogborhill and opposite to Ikot-Ekpene road. When these mammals are slaughtered, the water from the river is utilized in washing the meat before being transported. The transportation of the meat, many a time, finds its destination to another part of the river that flows across the end tail of Ngwa road, under Orji Uzor bridge, close to Good Morning market. This is where the meat is roasted, washed and transported again to the market for sale.
Amidst many means of generating income from the river, RainbowTrek team visited another part of the river which yielded money for a community called Opobo. The Opobo people are immigrants from Rivers State. Findings proved that their livelihood, which has been travelling and fishing during the olden days, when the British were still in charge in Nigeria, brought them to inheriting some riverine areas of Aba and became legal dwellers. The Opobo people from history lived near a river. The river flows in between the part of the Opobo community and another part of Aba. Civilization dawn on many to travelling across the river to build houses amongst the Opobo dwellers who live at the bank of the river. These non-Opoboans have businesses to do at the heart of the city which accrues for a passage through the river. The use of canoe to convey people which became another means of income is generated from the river. This business is only handled by the Opobos. Each passage across the river costs twenty naira per person. People going for their different businesses use the canoe on daily basis especially during morning and evening times. RainbowTrek interviewed the canoeist, Allswell, who introduced himself, not only as a paddler but as a diver too. He gave that assurance that peradventure anyone fell victim of getting drowned in the river, they are always there for a rescue mission. The canoe business, according to him, is a shift job among Opobo families who are inhabitants of that area.
RainbowTrek also gathered that the river serves the purpose of being used for baptism by different religious groups.
The Waterside River is one of the resources the famous Enyimba city can boast of.
Reported by Sízà Àmàh
Edited by GIft Chijindu
Foto Kredit : Chibutondum Eze