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Nsukka: The Economic Value, History and Standard of Living of this Nigerian City

The City and Zone of Nsukka

Nsukka is a popular Nigerian (mini) city widely seen in academic records and books due to the presence of the main campus of University of Nigeria. This place is widely known for harboring Nigeria’s first independent university established in 1960. However, aside from the presence of the university, the city has a great economic value and relevance beyond that of the university.

To understand Nsukka better and all that it stands for, there’d be some important questions answered below about this wonderful place. The most important fact to note is that Nsukka is economically relevant beyond the fact that one of Nigeria’s A-list universities is in the city. There are other factors and values that make Nsukka stand out among its peers and counterparts.

The questions to be attended to are here below:

Where is Nsukka?

Nsukka is located in the African country, Nigeria. Nigeria is in the region of West Africa. In Nigeria, Nsukka is in Enugu State which is in the southeastern part of the country. It is close to the northern part of the country making it an important point of trade and human exchange. It lies in a hilly terrain.

It can be assessed mainly by road since it has no airport, seaport or train station . It can be assessed by road from northern or southern Nigeria through Oturkpo-Enugu expressway.

What is the history of Nsukka?

Nsukka’s history cannot be totally painted or pinpointed. Nigerian indigenous civilizations and cultures didn’t have writing as a feature so what Nsukka has is an oral history passed down from their forebears. The little that’s known about Nsukka history according to the archaeological discoveries and modern day language is the Nsukka zone was occupied as far as 3000+ years ago.

The rest of Igbo land had contact with Nsukka in the past like Arochukwu, Nri and Nike. The neighboring cultures also had contact with Nsukka and influenced their language like the Igala and Idoma. The Igala kingdom may have in the past administered some of the areas.

However, in terms of language, culture, trade and belief system, Nsukka is closely related to other Igbo towns. The area before colonialism was republican; some towns were administered by priest-kings. Some towns migrated from other Igbo towns while others migrated from Benin, Igala and Idoma. Presently, most towns in Nsukka zone identify as Nsukka and have similar language, culture and belief system.

What is the University of Nigeria? Where is the University of Nigeria?

University of Nigeria is Nigeria’s first independent university and an A-list university. It is a public university run by the Nigerian Federal Government. It has about three campuses – Nsukka, Enugu and Ituku-Ozalla. However, its first and main campus is located in Nsukka where it was first established. The Nsukka campus of the university is the biggest and the administrative campus of the university. It sits on hectares of land and harboring about 9 faculties, staff residential quarters, student hostels, and government research institutes and MDAs.

Who are Nsukka people? What language do they speak?

Nsukka people are the people from Nsukka. It also means people from a zone known as Nsukka which covers the cultural, geographical and political area of seven local governments in Enugu State. Nsukka people refers to person from Nsukka town as well as people from Nsukka, Igbo-eze South, Igbo-eze North, Udenu, Igbo-etiti, Uzo-uwani and Isi-uzo local government areas. You must note that while Isi-uzo is culturally part of Nsukka, they’re not politically part of the zone.

Nsukka people speak a distinct dialect the Igbo language. It is widely known as the Nsukka dialect of the Igbo language, and it borrows some words from surrounding civilizations like Enugu, Igala and Idoma. Majority of Nsukka people are educated, and thus, over 75% of the population understand English and Nigerian pidgin languages.

How large is Nsukka? What’s the landmass? What’s the population?

Nsukka (mini) city is not too large comprising the Enugu road, Orba road, Nru, Agbani – Odenigbo, the university, Ede-oballa, Obukpa and Alor uno areas. However, Nsukka as a cultural and political zone is very large, one of the largest zones in southeastern Nigeria. Nsukka zone is as large as 2,500km wide.

The population of Nsukka (mini) city is not known. It is estimated. The population in the city is derived from the large student population, the staff strength of the different schools in the city, the indigenes and non-indigenous residents. There have been steady increase in the number of residents in the city. Thus, the population in the city is around 100,000 – 250,000.

Nsukka as a Local Government is up to 400,000 – 500,000 people. The Nsukka cultural and political zone is around 1.8 million – 2.5 million people.

What is Nsukka culture?

Nsukka culture is the culture of Nsukka zone as it is almost the same in the whole zone, thus that’s why Nsukka is considered a cultural zone. This culture affects the people a lot as it makes them morally upright, gentle and trustworthy. With long decades of these people’s belief in hard-work, honesty, sanctity, respect for constituted authorities and elders, non-violence, peace and amiable hospitality; this can easily be seen in their daily interactions.

Nsukka people value their culture and respect it. There are some festivals in different communities to celebrate the culture like Omabe and some others. Omabe is done in almost all the communities in the zone. It is during the Omabe festival, masquerades (mma) come out to display to the public.

The culture makes most Nsukka people avoid cheating, stealing and other illicit actions. It most importantly makes them hard-working, humble, peaceful and hospitable.

How developed is Nsukka? Is Nsukka a city? 

Nsukka is developed according to the standard of a developing country. There are good road all around the main city and in other surrounding towns. There are financial institutions, markets, factories, businesses, hospitals, good schools and many other indices used for checking development.

There is a large percentage of middle-class families residing in Nsukka city with a good number of cars. There are good residential houses. There are good hotels large and equipped enough to earn 4-star. There is a stadium, a library, post offices, good hospitals and relaxation centres. There are supermarkets and several markets.

Nsukka city economically and academically serves half of Enugu State, and parts of Kogi and Benue states. Thus, economically, the city and the zone booms. Even though majority of the non-indigenous population think the city and zone is powered by the presence of the university; it’s actually powered by its location as the eastern border to the north thus enhancing trade, and its topography and soil enhancing agriculture and agro-allied productions.

What businesses or goods is Nsukka known for?

Nsukka, economically, is mostly known for its agricultural produces and food. Nsukka is the center of trade for goods as such as Nsukka pepper (ose Nsukka), tomatoes, cashew, palm-oil, palm-wine, pork, ogbono, cassava (garri, fufu and akpu), bambara nuts (okpa), honey, okro, rice, beans (fiofio) and many others.

Nsukka is also the center of trade for alcohol and gin mostly produced by the enterprising indigenous population. There are other products produced from here and sent out to other locations in Nigeria such as vegetable oil, house paints, noodles, spices and many other products.

In the present time, diversification is happening and non-physical businesses are taking roots with the activities of the younger population. These non-physical businesses include freelancing, programming and gaming.

Nsukka is also known for its strong presence and influence in Nigerian literature having influenced a lot of notable Nigerian writers in one way or another. Popular Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Adichie, grew up here and constantly writes about Nsukka. Chinua Achebe lived and worked in Nsukka. A lot of well-known young writers in one way or another have been influenced by Nsukka. Nsukka is still a good location for developing literary gifts and talents as a lot of younger writers are still bred here.

Why Nsukka should be your best business destination?

Nsukka is not about academics alone as the city and zone is far moving away from being just a university town. As stated earlier in this post, Nsukka people are hard-working; they’re educated, highly intelligent and good at trading. Thus, while around 12% of the population are employed in government’s service or employees for private firms, around 25% are traders, 20% offer services and the rest are farmers. Most at times they combine farming and trading.

  • Good Population and Purchasing Power: The zone serves an area with strong population of 3 million or more which includes parts of Enugu, Kogi and Benue states. The wonderful thing is that majority of this population have considerable purchasing power. Therefore, the population and purchasing power is there to a good extent; maybe not as big as cities like Abuja, Kano, Lagos, Port Harcourt but there is a considerable advantage.
  • Infrastructure: The city has good basic infrastructure that enhances running of business like good roads, security and constant power supply. There is also supply of good and honest workers. The zone’s infrastructure-level is still improving, though, and not that good yet. However, the zone enjoys 50% infrastructural advantage. The Nsukka city enjoy 70%.
  • Good Power Supply: The Nsukka city and some other areas in the zone enjoy very good power supply thus presenting it as a good destination for services and businesses in need of good power supply. The activity in this place is also shifting from the traditional aspect of business to IT and increased production due to the level of improved power supply.

If your question is where in Nigeria has good power supply/more light? Nsukka is the answer.

  • Geographical Location: This place is closer to the north than most southern areas of Nigeria. It is the gateway to the southeastern part of Nigeria. It is also close to economic keypoint areas like Enugu, Onitsha, Owerri, Abuja, Calabar, Port Harcourt, Lokoja, Benin, Lagos and many other areas. It is at the center of the country.
  • Affordable Standard of Living: Nsukka city and anywhere in the zone is very affordable. Due to its location, food is cheap, securing accommodation is cheap as well and other bills like power bills are affordable. Transportation to any part of the country can be found and it is cheap, especially to the northern parts. As a business owner in need of an affordable place with all the amenities you need, you can leverage on its affordability to deliver your goods and services to economic keypoint areas in and outside Nigeria.
  • Large and Viable Markets: There are markets all around the zone, continuously expanding, where you can market your goods and services. These market serve important locations and are heavily connected to traders all over Nigeria. For instance, Abuja and Kano traders come down to Obollo-afor and Orba to buy agricultural products like palm-oil, palm-wine, cashew, ogbono and many more. Traders from Lagos come down to Ibagwa-aka and Opi to buy honey, ogbono, palm-oil and many more. Even though agricultural products sell more, other products like clothes, shoes, bags, spare parts and others also sell.


Nsukka is often considered a university zone and city but its not entirely that. The city and zone has moved on from being one of the well-known university towns to a commerce center whose location and land has given it a good favour. Strategically located in the center of country, easily accessible and blessed with good large expanse of land, Nsukka plays a good role in agriculture, production, services and trade. Considering Nsukka as a business location is a very good choice.

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