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*Nigeria's Coal City, Enugu - Milked & Forgotten?
By Ikechukwu Enyiagu
Enugu State, for some of those born after the 70s, and whose interests in history are nothing of pride, was popularly known as the Coal City. And for those born well ahead of the Nigerian civil war, the Coal City remains a great part of our collective history as a nation. Coal was discovered in Enugu in 1909, almost 50 years ahead of oil discovery. Until the discovery of oil in Nigeria, coal remained our major stay as a country. At that time, when the British were brutish, the workers, amongst whom were some indigenes of the State, couldn’t dare to voice their truest demands even if they had a hint of what their rights were.
Now that oil has force-retired coal in Nigeria, the entire nation, especially the government seems to have little or no use and respect for history. Any nation or person that advertently ignores history is set for an uncertain future. With all the oil and pomp, the Nigeria of today has become more of a must-read for the the schools of the world. It’s even a laughable twist when one remembers that the same coal which the Nigerian government has toyed with and discarded, along with the indigenes where the mines are located, is the very coal which drives China into its super power dreams. China, a country with the largest single population in the world, is being driven by the same coal that the Nigerian government mocks. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing some major cities, including Enugu and Federal capital (Abuja or FCT)
Billions of Naira have been poured into the so-called Niger Delta regions because of the location of the nation’s oil deposits. The indigenes of the Niger Delta are treated with a high level of care and respect in the nation because of the oil. It’s deserving to acknowledge the source of your stay, but my questions in reference to the Coal City are these:
1. If the Niger Deltans now receive greater attention solely because of the large oil deposits in the region, why has Enugu State constantly been treated like it was never carrying the entire nation-single-handedly?
2. Recently, the salaries of former heads of state were reviewed in their favor, why is it difficult for the country to see that the government has marginalized the Coal City decades before that word got across to the Niger Deltans? Why is the Coal City treated as if it never served any purpose worthy of even greater rewards than the ex-presidents who, in their time, ruled and left without results?
3. If the Niger Deltans are compensated, and the heads of states, promoted, even after their retirement form office, why does the federal government think it not robbery to continue to ignore the Coal City indigenes and to ride on their kindness? ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria's Niger Delta Region showing Port Harcourt
By His grace, oil has also been discovered in Enugu State. What does this entail for the nation and the state, and how is the government planning on defrauding, yet again, the good people of Enugu State? This injustice has overstayed its welcome; I, therefore, request that the federal government visit this matter and treat it in the spirit of urgency.
This has nothing to do with the history of Biafra, nor has it anything to do with the seeds that the British planted in Nigeria; it has everything to do with the way the federal government treats minorities, be they of people, resources, or concerns, and, most especially, the way the federal government views Enugu State and its indigenes as a whole.
In spite of all her worth, the Coal City has no direct outlet to the outside world except for the long-overdue minor renovations going on at the state airport. I ask that the same privileges, treatments, and incentives given to the youths of the Niger Delta and our former heads of state be extended to the Indigenes of Enugu, the great Coal City. A stitch in time saves nine.
Ikechukwu Enyiagu can be reached at
*Tags: Nigerians, Enugu, State, Coal, City, Milked, Forgotten, Abuja, Lagos, Africa, Masterweb
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