A glance at Blacksmithing Work in Achi, Oji River

Many communities in Nigeria are richly endowed with their own local arts and craft industries, which could help them cope with and develop their lives. The fundamental truth is that no organized society will survive without its indigenous arts and craft industries. Umuigwe is a community in Agbadala Achi, of  Oji River Local Government Area of Enugu State, which is considered to have some socio-economic activities that have remained distinct to them.

Art and craft industries in Nigeria are seen as a local business that represents the knowledge gained by a particular person or society in its struggle to adapt to the natural environment by means of cultural norms etc.

This craft industry serves as a significant source of income for host communities. The product of their craftsmanship are been sold to improve their standard of living, with the agricultural sector Being their major beneficiary, this is because most of the farm implements used by subsistence farmers are made by blacksmiths. Farm implements such as cutlass; hoes etc are used in a bush clearing, soil planting, field weeding, and other agricultural activities. Of course, hunters are not left aside The hunters’ tools like metal traps, spear, matchet, knife, etc are all made by blacksmiths.  Household equipment like Mats and baskets are used for the storage and processing of agricultural products such as onions, pepper, are products of these blacksmiths

Here are what some of the blacksmiths I interviewed had to say

Meet Mr chukwuma …. Who is in his late 50s, an indigen of Umuigwe in Agbadala Achi, whom  I happen to meet while he was doing his job.

According to him, Blacksmithing is as old as our ancestors, it is a divine gift from  ]Chukwu] God to every male born in Umuigwe community. The story dated back when Agbadala settled in this part of town, he was good in craft and he gave birth to children of whom Igwe was one of them. Igwe had an interest in blacksmithing while his brothers were interested in farming and other trade, today people of umu Igwe engage in this profitable venture without even learning how to do it, just lie our ancestors.  To further buttress this, Mr Chukwuma further told us that he was 12 years old when he starting using tools to make traps,  it didn’t prevent us from going to us anyway as most of us are educated and are doing well he added. I came back to the village after recovering from an accident that almost took my life and made it unfit for me to live in the city where I base in Cotonou, but I was happy I had something to fall back, I started working on tools and have been taking care of my household from the profit I made,

I discovered that most of the works there are finished hoes, and I became anxious to know why but he made me understand that farmers are done planting, which has really affected them as they are to work on order brought by merchants only. I also had a little interaction with another Blacksmith Mr Chukwudi who also told me, that during planting season, they produce a lot of things and send them to Onitsha main market in Anambra State, Where businessmen took it over from there.  But if they produce less they will take them to Ozu Uda Market in Achi, they have a line especially for Art And craft every Eke Market days. Ozu Uda market in Achi, Oji River is a big local market where you can find virtually everything you need. Umuigwe blacksmiths usually carry out their work in front of their house, they always erect little building in front of the house where they do their job,they produce varieties of thing which are, kitchen knife (mma ekwu), tripod (ekwu igwe),, hoe (ogu) metal trap (onyie igwe), gong (ogene), axe (anyuike), matchet (mma ike), Umuigwe smiths manufacture some useful items and their goods are of a quality, durability which is commonly used by the entire population of the city and visitors. They produce all that is manufactured in other parts of the country hence, there is need for it

In particular, smiting devices are purchased locally from the Onitsha region. The major tool used by a Blacksmith are;

Anvil (Ihuama)  

it a mixture of thick round iron fixed securely in a wooden block.

 Hammer (Oti):

there are two types of hammers: otutu (hard hammering rod) and obele (light hammer rod). Otutu is a round solid metal with a handle. It is a block-like square rod.  Obele, on the other hand, is made of long thick iron with handle. It is lighter in weight when compared with the otutu.

 Below (Eku) 


this consists of two wooden or clay pot about a foot diameter from each of which extend a pipe of about 15 m long 

Tong (Mkpa)

is a plyer shaped metal that is about 1 foot long. It is used for picking red hot metal out of the fire. It is also used for gripping or holding hot metal; while it is placed on the anvil during hammering.

Chisel (Omerigwe)

is an iron tool with a very sharp edge at the end of the rod with an attached handle made of wood or rubber and it is used for cold cutting off thin bits. 

Punch (Aha)

is a round metal rod of various sizes used for creating a hole on the flat metal sheet.  

These are tools I found around them, I also discovered electricity is required for carrying out this task, then I saw a mini generator around the shop which signifies an inadequate supply of electric power supply. But I was confused because there is the constant power supply in the town, especially the communities where I visited, I learned that not all part of Achi has access to light. Honestly, these blacksmith needs light to thrive

The interesting part of my visit is that youths are fully engaged in the craft, which means that in the future to come thee will always be a blacksmith in Umuigwe in Agbadala Achi of Oji River Local Government in Enugu State.

Before we were colonized by the British government, we were artist people, science did not start from the white, our forefather mastered art and science in a way that proved they were not dumb, they were just not able to see beyond their nose. Satisfying their immediate need was their only priority

Our major problem in Nigeria is documentation, most of the things we do were never documented in a readable format, that is why lots of great people die with their knowledge,

I hope when you come across this you will understand that there are blacksmiths in a particular town in Achi who needs modern equipment to take their talent to the next level

They need constant light to thrive as well.

2 thoughts on “A glance at Blacksmithing Work in Achi, Oji River

  1. That's a wonderful work you doing choco. Our fore fathers would have gone a long way by now if they had foresight or had support from government

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Enjoy this blog? Please share...

Follow ChocoNaija
Follow by Email