The Short History of Sokponba Road
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By Ekhaguosa Aisien {Last Update July 24, 2022}

Another Twentieth Century example of the change of the name of a major street in Benin due to the presence and influence of the Europeans resident in the City is that of the UTANTAN High street now called SOKPONBA Road. The UTANTAN High Street is more than one and a half thousand years old It bore this name throughout that length of time until a century ago when Benin became a colony of British and the thoroughfare had its name changed to Sokponba Road by the new administration peter HITCHENS the colonial Forest Officer who introduced Forestry as a government activity into Benin and who created the extensive Benin Forest  RESERVES from the Benin equatorial rain forest had established a Forestry Training  camp and REST HOUSE near the Itsekiri occupied  little island of “SOKPONBA” at the headwaters of the IGBAGHON  (Jamieson) river in the Orhionmwon territories. The Utantan High Street led out of Benin City towards peter Hitches creation. The colonial officers administering Benin City frequented the beach resort at week-end to swim and picnic. They labeled the Utantan High Street Sokponba Road after the little island on the Igbaghon River recently occupied by Chief Akpasigha the Itsekiri with the permission of Oba Ovonranmwen. The word Sokponba was a boast by Akpasigha that apart from the fealty which he owed to the Oba of Benin he was the lord of all that he surveyed on his little island.

Sokponba Road benin City
Sokponba Road Benin City

Another version stated: Chief Asoro, a valiant brave man who died resisting the invading British forces during the expedition of 1897. During the siege on Benin, it was said that chief Asoro ably defended the spot where the statue now stands. He said "no other person dare pass this road unless the Oba" (So kpon Oba). It is this statement which has been corrupted to become SAKPONBA.The present Sokponba village and Sakponba Road derive their names from Chief Asoro's statement. This statue, which is a salute to Patriotism and loyalty is located on the king's Square by the beginning of Sokponba Road, Benin City the spot where chief Asoro have died after fighting bravely.

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