CHIEF OKOROJI'S HOUSE, AROCHUKWU ABIA STATE
Declared a National Monument on 19th March, 1963. One of very few Aro buildings that
survived from the 18th century. The few that still exist represent a highly developed form of
indigenous traditional architecture and construction skill. They showcase beautifully formed
facade details and decorations. Chief Okoroji who built this house, probably at the time of
his prosperity in the 1880's died before the Aro expedition. The plan of the house is simple
with an inner room and an outer verandah. Rising from a plinth, the most striking features of
the building are its height (It has an attic over the inner room where the bedrooms are
located) and the length of its roof that deeps steeply to front of the building. The verandah
has deep low eaves with decorated mud benches set into the floors and walls. A pair of
slave chains hang from the ceiling and the rafters are ornamented with rows of animal
skulls tied with decorative string. The inner room is impressively decorated with numerous
family heirlooms. The centre piece of the room is a shrine made of fine large coiled manilas
(with flattened ends) and crowned with a ship's bell. Around the walls are rows of china
plates, serving dishes with covers, and pewter dishes and bowls from early colonial times.
There is a profusion of pewter and china mugs, beakers and tankards. The ceiling of the
room is hung with a variety of lanterns, ship's lights and other sailor's bric-a-brac.
Elsewhere in the room there are a few cannons, swords and guns. All of these
miscellaneous European article appear to be late nineteen century English and German
trade goods and souvenirs. There are also some brass spiral manilas, very good specimens
of a rare type.