Agulu is a big town in the Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State. Closest towns to Agulu are Nise, Mbaukwu, Adazi Nnukwu and Nanka.
Agulu stands out for a lot of reasons. For one, it is the birthplace of a number of prominent Nigerians, including the former vice-presidential candidate, Peter Obi, and the late NAFDAC boss, Professor Dora Akunyili. Peter Obi was also a two-term past governor of Anambra State.
There are 21 villages in Agulu and the famous Agulu Lake is located in Umuowelle Village. Umuowelle is a short distance from Nwagu Junction and very close to the Nkwo Agulu market as well.
Here are some interesting details about Agulu Lake:
1. The lake is a tourist attraction
Even before Governor Obiano decided to officially name the lake environs a major tourist centre in the state, Agulu Lake has always been included on Anambra’s list of tourist attractions, alongside Ogbunike Cave.
Now the lake area has been remodelled and a big hotel built there. There are also a number of other attractions. The newly constructed Golden Tulip Hotel and Resort in Agulu Lake features a restaurant, a gym, fully stocked bar and a garden. Every guest at the hotel gets treated to a continental breakfast. There is also free WiFi and a spacious parking lot.
2. Agulu Lake appears in two bodies
If you have ever passed the road through Agulu Lake, you would see the twin bodies of the lake. The two bodies are actually one lake separated by dense vegetation. Like every natural lake, the water is still and slow-flowing.
Either portion of the lake appears as a wide stretch of still grey water, extending, as if endless, into the horizon. Local legend says nobody has ever seen the end of the lake.
3. There are crocodiles in Agulu Lake
We all heard the story of a woman washing clothes at the bank of Agulu Lake, unaware of a big crocodile lurking in the bush at the side of the lake. The crocodile lunged at the woman and gripped her by the arm, pulling her into the water.
The woman’s loud screams attracted the attention of local fishermen who came to her rescue. It was a tough struggle as the fishermen tried to pull the woman away from the painful grip of the crocodile. The crocodile latched on tight and eventually the woman’s hand got severed and she was pulled out with only one arm intact.
Nobody knew how true this tale is but we all believed it as kids and always tried to stay away from the lake.
Truly, there are living crocodiles in Agulu Lake and sometimes, in a hot afternoon, you would see the crocodiles cluster at the bank of the lake, warming their bodies.
4. Agulu Lake is a sacred lake
Everything about Agulu Lake is sacred to the people of Agulu. The crocodiles are not touched and not everyone can fish in the lake.
As kids, we often saw fishermen holding up their kill at the Ezinano Bus Stop very close to the lake. People stopped their cars to buy. But all that is no longer seen today. I doubt if open fishing is still allowed at the Lake. Or perhaps there is no more fish to catch.
A lot of rituals and festivities go on at the lake. There is news of a local priest that mans the lake, supervising all worship activities that go on at the lake. This priest maintains a big shrine close to the lake and it is alleged that he could speak with the crocodiles.
There is an old tale that the priest came out to commune with the lake mermaids in the afternoon, but no one is sure this is true.
Mermaids in Agulu Lake
There is an old legend that mermaids (Mami Wota) live in Agulu Lake. In some of the tales, it was told that during the Biafran Civil War, the mermaids used their beauty to charm opposing soldiers and lure them into the lake, where they turned to crocodiles and devoured them.
Some of the stories added that body parts of some of the devoured soldiers were later discovered floating on the lake. While these tales are popular and well-believed, DNB Stories Africa has not been able to confirm that real-life mermaids live in Agulu Lake.