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Umuleri also known and pronounced as Umueri is a town in Anambra State of Southeastern Nigeria. The people of town belong to an Igbo ethnic group and has an estimated population of 155,000. It's located within the Anambra Valley, bordered by Anambra River (Omabala River) and Anam communities in the north, Nteje to the south, Aguleri and Nando in the east and Nsugbe in the western flank. Contents 1 History 2 Division & Administration 3 Religion 4 Infrastructure 5 Notable Personalities 6 References History The origin of Umuleri is surrounded in myths and legend as its in other ancient Igbo communities. However, there are generally acceptable oral story of origin which was passed from generation to generation which emphasis the area as the first area of human settlement east of the Niger. Therefore, the origin of Umueri, which literally means "Children of Eri", can be traced back to ancient Eri Kingdom, which dates back to the 9th Century. The Nri Town in Anambra State is also descendants of Eri. They migrated to the present place from Omabala River Valley. According to tradition, Eri was a great warrior, hunter and polygamist. He has a lot of children and wives. The most famous of the wives was Iguedo from presumably the lineage of Ogiso (Bini) who was amongst the crowd of migrants at that time. She was also mother to the founders of Ogbunike, Awkuzu, Umueri and Nando and a daughter who was amongst the founders of Oboli Quarters of Onitsha (this explains the relationship between Umueri and Onitsha and other Iguedo clans). Eri due to his influence was said to have snatched (re-marry) Iguedo from Nnamenyi, another of the migrants and she bore to him Dabawor who founded modern Umueri clan. At the demise of Eri she remarried again to Iru, a hunter and herbalist who was said to be part of Eri Company. It was here (in this relationship) that she begat Ndo who was the founder of Nando. Originally, Dabawu/Obuga was the ancestral home of Eri before ancient wars and growth in population scattered them into the forests of Igbo land including the present Nri town. Traces of their origin are still visible in this area. For instance, Dabawor is still there at Ugume Umueri, Aguu Nri tree, which is over a thousand years, is still at Amairuakpu Ugume Umueri, an antiquity of historical importance. While Mkpu Nando, a residential quarters of Iguedo descendants of Nando lineage is today located in Aguleri. Division & Administration Traditionally, Umueri is broadly divided into 3 clans: Ikenga, Ivite, Ezi. The clans are further divided into villages and sub-villages. But with advent of colonialism and modernization, the town has consciously grown under the protections of their uncle (AGULERI) . The three traditional clans of Umueri are written down below with their corresponding Villages: Ikenga: Comprises Ugume, Umudiana, Umunchezi, etc. Ivite: Umuatuolu, Ogbu and Mgbede Ezi: Belongs to Nneyi Village which is also divided into further sub-villages The pre-colonial Umueri government was a republican but with influence of Bini Kingdom in that part of Igboland, it changes to Monarchical in nature in which the Eze resided in Ivite. The Prime Minister (Onowu) & Ajie in Ikenga and Ezi respectively. Modern administration since colonization relegated this system and enthroned the Igwe Dynasty which is prevalent Institution till date. Below is the Structure of Present Umueri Administration: Igwe in Council - The Traditional Ruler and his Cabinet (Igwe Cabinet) Religion Prior to the coming of Europeans, Umueri people practiced traditional religion with the worship of various deities. However, they had since embraced Christianity about a century ago. Today, there are more than 85% Christians in the town. The major Christian faiths are the Catholic and Anglican denominations. Some other churches, especially of the Pentecostal faith, have emerged in Umueri in the past fifty years. The town is also referred to as a pinnacle of Anglican evangelism as it has one of the oldest churches east of the Niger. Churches that are bound in the town include and not limited to the following: St Immanuel Anglican Church (founded 1904), St Gabriel Anglican Church (1912), Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church (1975), St Marks Catholic Church Nneyi etc. Infrastructure Most of the public basic infrastructure in the town is built by the community. The community-built infrastructures are as follow: Umueri General Hospital, Umueri Town Hall, Recreation Club House, Umueri Girls High School, Ugume Umueri, Umueri High School, Obinetiti (formerly Umueri Technical College), Community Secondary School, Umuatuolu, Umueri Development School, Nneyi, Umueri Postal Agency, Umueri Community Bank, Afiama Market, Eke Market, Eke Nneyi Market, etc. The few infrastructure owned by government includes the following: Umueri Nomadi School at Umudiana-Umueri, Local Government Secretariat, Umueri-Umueze Anam Head Bridge (Still On Process), Boreholes Projects sunk around the Villages and proposed and ongoing projects which includes the Orient Refinery, Anambra State Cargo Airport, Orient Low Staff Residential Quarters etc. Notable Personalities Notable personalities from the Umueri town, both dead and living, include the following: H.R.H Igwe Nelson Ugume Okoye: The traditional Ruler of Umuleri Chief Fidelis Nzegwu Okoye: Member of Parliament in First Republic & Legislator of Old Anambra State House of Assembly during the 2nd Republic Chief P.I Onochie: Late Ide 1 of Umueri,Industrialist and CEO Showlight Films Industries Rev Fr.Elias Makolu: A Monsignor before his death was the first Umueri Catholic Priest Sir Ben Emeka: An Industrialist and CEO of New Ideal Construction Company LTD (NICCL) Ogbuefi Nwagu Aneke: Great Tutor of Nsibidi scripts at UNN before his death Ani Dike Egwuonwu: Authour,diplomat, linguist and Politician residing in United States of America. Obidike Lawrence Uchenna: Industrialist and CEO Weco Systems Ltd Dr.(lady)Ogugua V.C Ikpeze: Senior lecturer faculty of law, Unizik Awka. Barr. Mike Okoye: Eminent lawyer,human right activist and Politician Senator Emma Anosike: Politician and Senator of Federal Republic of Nigeria Mrs Kate Okwecha: Top Civil Servant Charles Okafor: Nollywood Actor Gabriel Melkam: Footballer & Nigeria Super Eagles Star. References Isichei Elizabeth. “A History of Igbo People” (London, ENGLAND: MacMillan, 1976.) Nwabunwanne Ifediorah Christopher. “Umueri Head of Ancient Umueri Clan” http://www.umueriland.com http://www.umueri-okebo.com