All you need to know about Enugu state, the coal city

The Coal City of yesteryears founded in 1909 by a team of geological explorers led by Sir Albert
Kitson, Enugu was just like one of those “evil forests”, or at best, a
farmland used by surrounding villages. It was the discovery of coal
on top of Udi escarpment that attracted residents to the area.
Enugu or Enu-ugwu, which consists of two Igbo words – Enu (Top)
and Ugwu (Hill), meaning ” Top of the Hill” or “Hill Top”, derived its
name from a little village east of Ngwo Town, situated at the top of
Udi Hills, where coal was discovered in 1909. It was then called ”
Enu–ugwu Ngwo“. However, much of the European “Enugu”,
which we all know today, lies at the foot of Udi-Awgu-Nsukka hills,
surrounded by a stretched low hills, and sits at an altitude of 240
miles above sea level.
The main indigenous people of Enugu are Ogui Nike, who live in
areas around Hotel Presidential, Obiagu, Ama-Igbo, Ihewuzi and
Onu-Asata areas. Other groups include Awkunanaw people, who
live mainly in Achara Layout and Uwani areas as well as the
Enugwu Ngwo people who live on the hilltop, with their farmlands
sprawling all over the valley. The discovery of coal deposit in their
land gave rise to settlements around the foot of the hills, and as
the population grew, the city expanded into the areas of other
indigenous inhabitants. It was then called Enugwu-Ngwo, before it
was changed to just Enugu.
The first immigrant settlers in Enugu was an exploitation team of
coalminers under a British mining engineer named William John
Leck. The team was accompanied by a gang of labourers led by
Alfred Inoma from Onitsha. They all came in 1915. They were later
joined by prisoners who were brought down from Udi to the
coalmine. The prisoners built their own prison yard and set out to
work in the mine.
While William Leck and the White men who came with him settled
at Hill Top, Alfred Inoma and his group settled at a place known
after him, called Ugwu Alfred. Alfred Inoma died very early, but
William Leck lived in Enugu until his retirement in 1942.
It was the discovery of coal in Enugu in 1909 that led to the
founding of the city of Port Harcourt in 1912, which was to serve
as an outlet for the shipment of coal overseas. The town was
named after a one-time British Secretary of State for the Colonies,
Mr. Lewis Viscount Harcourt.
Soon after the opening of the coalmine in 1915, the Colliery
Management embarked on massive recruitment of labourers to
work the coalfields. It was also the same year that the first
shipment of coal from Enugu to the United Kingdom was made.
The influx of workers in Enugu to work the coalfields led to the
establishment of “Colliery Villages” to give shelter to these
immigrants. That was how places like Coal Camp and Iva Valley
came into existence.
In 1917, Enugu was declared a Second Class Township under the
Colonial Order in Council No. 19 of 1917, along with Udi, which
was declared a Third Class Township. Accordingly, a Township
Advisory Board (TAB), consisting of Mr. J G Lawson, acting District
Officer; Mr. J S Hayes, Colliery Manager; Mr. A B Milliken,
Assistant Engineer; Mr. E C Braithwaite, Medical Officer; and Mr. W
Reeder, Senior Superintendent of Prisons, was set up to take care
of the political administration of the town.
In 1929, the Colonial Government gave approval that the
administrative headquarters of Southern Provinces of Nigeria
which then comprised of Onitsha, Ogoja, Owerri, Calabar, Ijebu,
Oyo, Abeokuta, Ondo, Benin, Warri, as well as the Mandated of the
Cameroon, be moved from Lagos to Enugu.
Enugu remained the Capital of Southern Provinces until 1939, when
the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Mr. W G A Ormsby-Gore, in
a memo dated September 17, 1937, approved the splitting of
Southern Provinces into Eastern and Western Provinces with
capitals at Enugu and Ibadan respectively.
Enugu was also capital of Eastern Region, capital of the sovereign
Republic of Biafra, capital of East Central State, capital of Anambra
State, and now, capital of Enugu State.
Among those who held forte in Enugu and from there presided
over the affairs of the people entrusted into their care were
Professor Eyo Ita, Leader of Government Business (1952 to 1954);
Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Premier (1954 to 1959); Dr. Michael Okpara
and Dr. Francis Akanu Ibiam, Premier and Governor respectively,
(1959 to 1966); Colonel/General Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu
, Military Governor, Eastern Region/Republic of Biafra (1966 to
1970).
Others were Mr. Mr. Anthony Ukpabi Asika, Administrator, (1967 to
1975); Colonel Anthony Aboki Ochefu, Military Governor, (July
1975 to October 1975); Colonel John Atom Kpera, Military
Governor, (1975 to 1978); Colonel Datti Sadiq Abubakar, Military
Governor, (1978 to 1979); Chief Jim Nwobodo, Governor, 1979 to
1983); and Chief Christian Onoh, Governor, (October 1983 to
December 1983).
There were also Navy Captain Allison Madueke, Military Governor,
(1984 to 1985); Group Captain Emeka Omeruah, (1985 to 1987);
Colonel Robert Akonobi, Military Governor, (1987 to 1990); Colonel
Herbert Obi Eze, Military Governor, (1990 to 1992); Dr. Okwesilieze
Nwodo, Governor, (1992 to 1993); Navy Captain Temison Ejoor,
Military Governor, (1993 to 1994); Colonel Lucky Mike Torey,
Military Governor, (1994 to 1996); Colonel Sule Ahman, Military
Governor, (1996 to 1998); and Navy Captain Benson Agbaje (1998
to 1999).
The rest were Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani, Governor, (1999 to 2007);
Barrister Sullivan Chime, Governor, (2007 to 2015): and Rt. Hon.
Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Governor, (2015 to date). Each and everyone of
them had contributed one way or the other in changing the face of
Enugu.
Addendum:::It is pertinent to add “that a British Army Engineer
called Captain Iva, took part in the excavation of the open cast
coal mine at the foot of what we today call the Milliken hill. The
valley beside it called Iva valley was named after him. Captain
Demont O’Connor was the Colonial resident in charge of Onitsha
Province where Enugu was initially located. He decided many
disputes that arose around Enugu at that time. The O’Connor round
about was named after him.

2 Comments

  1. Wow very good

  2. Good place to live

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