Recently, some of the inhabitants of Akure, Ondo State capital city in southwest Nigeria, began to suspect a preserved system of ditches, reposed within the compound of Archbishop Vining College of Theology. The network of ditches is about 270m long, with depth averaging 3m, width ranging between 4m-5m and is characterized by the typical smooth and steep walls of an African moat. The college of theology, which was established in 1917, is located at the top of a hill, known as Oke-Emeso Hill, on Oke-Emeso Street- which itself is said to be one of the oldest streets in the town.
The college of theology was founded by British missionaries who visited Akure town at the time, and there still exists a number of ancient houses with characteristic British architecture style at the college till date. The compound of the college had always been fenced with concrete blocks and the suspected moat is located at the southerncorner of the compound. The entire area surrounding the college is well built up and densely populated, and within which the ditch network cannot be seen. However, this is very much expected since their significance was not known; the ditches could have been filled up and structures constructed over them as the town became urbanized over the years.
In comparison to well-known moats in Nigeria, like the Eredo Moats of Ogun State and Benin Moats of Edo State, this structure is relatively shallow; and it is also understandable since the structure was dug in quartzite rocks (hard rock), unlike Eredo Moat that was dug in laterite and Benin Moat that was dug in clay.
There is therefore need for detailed archaeological study of this structure. If the suspicions of the people are eventually validated, Akure town automatically attains a new level in cultural, historical and touristic significance within the nation. This will also mean that the Anglican college of theology has saved us the loss of a marvelous object of great heritage.
– A segment of the suspected moat.
– Google map showing the boundaries of the college of theology (red line) and the path traversed by the network of ditches (yellow dotted line).
This article was written by Folarin Kolawole
Founder of Naijatreks, Nigerian-born Folarin Kolawole is a geologist, travel writer and researcher. When not at work, he travels the length and breadth of Nigeria, exploring, taking photos and writing about her numerous hidden tourist potentials. 'Naijatreks' is a product name registered under the Ntreks brand, which is also duly registered by Nigeria's Federal Corporate Affairs Commission. The contents on this blog are re-usable. However, it must be ensured that it is linked back to this blog, and correctly attributed to Naijatreks or the author. Please do not edit, rewrite or commercialize the original works on this blog without direct and written permission from the Founder (Folarin Kolawole). For inquiries and advert placement on the blog, kindly contact us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.