Artists restore Otigba statue damaged during #EndSARS

Artists and art patrons rally to restore damaged iconic Otigba statue in Enugu City, destroyed during the #endSARS protests.

Irate youths, protesting police brutality and high-handedness in Nigeria – hashtaged #endSARS – destroyed the sculpture in October 2020.

Concerned artists sought out Christopher Afuba, the original creator, and encouraged him to restore the original artwork.

Afuba told the BBC in an interview that Enugu State Government is not involved in the effort to replace the sculptor.

“I was not even paid a penny for using the work by the government that installed it at first. My friends used to kid me that I have struck it big, not knowing that I derived no benefit from it,” he said.

He explained that a group of concerned art patrons wanted the iconic monument restored and askekd him to do it.

“I’m doing this out of the love I have for the work, not because I am commissioned to do it,” he said.

He came to confirm and saw that both the head of the statue and the drum itself were destroyed. He was shocked that youths would damage the beautiful statue to express their anger with the police.

“What concerns an artwork with police brutlality?” he asked.

One of the patrons is Deji Ade, a coordinators of Life in My City Arts Festival (LIMCAF), a national arts competition that climaxes with a grand exhibition of winners’ artworks in Enugu.

He said LIMCAF teamed up with indicidual artist members of Society of Nigerian Artists to raise funds to restore the work.

“The decision is in part to tell the government that we appreciate the fact that the city is decorated with monumental structural works.”

“We would like those works to be preserved,” he said.

Afuba has finished the restoration and is very pleased with the outcome.

“If I am asked to choose, I will say that this current creation is even more beautiful than the first one,” he said with obvious satisfaction.

History of Otigba Statue in Enugu

The Otigba (drummer) statue was commissioned in 1981 by Christopher Afuba, then a level three higher diploma student of the famous IMT art school in Enugu.

“I got the inspiration to create the work in 1980, from a giant drum we have in our hometown.

 “We call the drum nne-igba (mother of drums); I wanted to recreate the drum with a big person as the drummer,” he explained.

It was during the military regime that a military administrator came to Enugu and saw all the wonderful artworks produced by students and displayed at the Art Garden.

They felt that it was better to take some of the iconic works and use them to beautify certain junctions in Enugu.

Otigba was selected among other artworks and taken out of the school for display at strategic locations in the city.

The giant statue was installed at the New Haven Junction and for 40 years, remained on of the City’s most recognized and photographed monument.


Nigerian designs artificial limbs to match dark skin colour

John Amanam, Nigerian sculptor and former special effects artist designs artificial limbs for dark brown people after brother lost part of his hand in an accident.

© Hakim Bishara – Hyperallergic

For amputees of color around the world, living with a limb or body part opposite to their natural skin tone is a daily reality. Their community has been largely ignored by an international prosthetics market that caters primarily to white clients.

John Amanam, a 33-year-old sculptor and former movie special effects artist from the city of Uyo in southern Nigeria, set out to change this reality three years ago, quickly becoming a pioneer in designing hyperrealistic Black prosthesis. His work — spanning prosthetic hands, legs, fingers, toes, ears, noses, and breasts — was so rare that he registered a patent over his innovation in Nigeria last year.

artist designs artifician limbs

Amanam arrived at prosthetics design after his brother lost part of his hand in a sudden accident. It was then that the family realized that dark-skinned prostheses are not available in Nigeria.

“I was never interested in prosthetics before that,” Amanam told Hyperallergic in a phone conversation. “I simply tried to use my expertise in special effects to help my brother.”

Without any formal training in prosthetics, Amanam embarked on autodidactic research to learn the craft. After a year of experiments in his studio, with many trials and errors, he was able to produce a convincing hand prosthesis for his brother, which blended with the rest of his hand.

When Amanam posted a picture of the custom-made hand on his Facebook page, the positive feedback was overwhelming. Requests for prostheses from amputees in Nigeria and other parts of the world started flowing and haven’t stopped since then.

“I quickly discovered that I was the only one around making Black prostheses; not only in Nigeria but in the whole region,” Amanam said.

With a growing demand for his work, Amanam established the company Immortal Cosmetic Art two years ago. It now employs seven workers who make the prostheses by hand. The company has so far served nearly 200 customers from all over the world and there are about 100 more waiting for their turn.

“We had to pause production because of the demand,” Amanam said. “I’m hoping to expand the company and add more technology to the process.”

Amanam’s work has garnered the attention of the international press, with stories by ReutersAl Jazeera, and other leading publications in Africa and around the world.

“The production of Hyperrealistic prosthesis is not just a Nigerian problem,” Amanam explained. “Customized prostheses that match the skin color are rare all over the world. In the case of Africa, all the prostheses are imported from abroad.”

See creative Nigerian who designs and cretes artificial limbs for those with dark skin color

Enugu Okpa and Abacha are 2 most popular native meals

Okpa Enugu and Abacha are the most popular native meals that visitors enjoy in all parts of Igboland. Both are however native meals patented in Enugu. Many visitors and citizens who live outside the South East region widely copy the recipe. The uniquely branded native Enugu State meals are prepared and served with different garnishings in all the four culturally groups of Enugu, namely Agbaja (Udi and Ezeagu), Ogwu (Aninri, Awgu and Oji River), Nkanu (Nkanu and Nike), and Nsukka. As there are dialectical differences among these clans, so are the recipes for making Abacha a bit different. There may be variations in preparing the abacha but the method for preparing Okpa is however the same everywhere we go.

Well, let us tell you this. If you visit Enugu and fail to sample okpa enugu and abacha meals, note that your trip is not complete! You have to return to try one or both of them! They are really nice meals, as visitors to Enugu testify after tasting one of them.

Okpa Enugu

okpa enugu

Okpa is a paste prepared like moin-moin. It comes wrapped in fresh leaves. The seed is either pounded at home (after they are soaked and fermented) or taken to the open market where they are ground into flour for the preparation.

Okpa seed is Bambara nuts. It is from this seed that the delicious paste emerges. Bambara nut has many native names in Nigeria, including Gurjiya or kwaruru in Hausa language.

There are things to watch out for if you want to buy okpa in Enugu. Although desperate housewives make ends meet have now perfected y learning how to make the paste, some of them prefer to wrap them in cellophane paper. Others go further to hide the cellophane wrapping inside the native leaves. Never buy any of these.

The best and healthiest version is the one that comes wrapped only in special leaves as it is cooked.

The best and by the most original okpa is arguably prepared in (Oji River LGA) and by Udi people, with Nsukka coming a distant third. The Achi people have so perfected the brand that they are the only ones that now serve the healthy version (wrapped with leaves). It is a great advantage to people traveling westwards. Travelers going to the Northern parts can buy the Udi Okpa at 9th Mile Corner or make a stopover at Obolo Afor to get the Nsukka version.

This cheap and filling food has now caught up fast and can be found in all parts of Nigeria, hawked by Igbo women who have mastered the simple art of cooking it.


10 BEST WAYS TO DINE OUT IN ENUGU


Abacha Enugu

abacha enugu

Abacha is by far the most widely enoyed delicacy in Enugu State. It is a basic meal on the family menu. Female children are taught to prepare the meal, although men are also trying their hands at it. In the past, it served as a starter meal in a typical 2-course family dinner. Today, however, the menu is so enriched with garnishing that it has become a standalone one-course meal.

Abacha is made from cassava tubers. It is prepared as flakes before the actual conversion begins to take place. The tubers are harvested, peeled, boiled, and grated into flakes. The flakes gathered into a raffia bag and soaked overnight. They are then washed thoroughly and thereafter dried in the sun.

To make abacha, the flakes are soaked in warm water, emptied into a pan and mixed with the ingredients. All use palm oil, salt, and ukpaka. The Nsukka and agbaja versions (also favoured by Achi people), add potash into the mix. Most visitors however prefer the Awgu version that does not come with the addition. Thus, the standard abacha is the one prepared by people from in the northern part of Awgu, and it is this version that visitors are most likely to find in restaurants and roadside eateries in Enugu. The basic abacha is cassava and served with dried fish. The modern abacha is much richer – through experimentation, it is now served with onions, veggies, and stock fish, making it look appetizing and taste even better.

Terrorists murder 16 in South-East in renewed onslaught

In renewed onslaught, terrorists operating in gangs unleash mayhem in Nigeria, murder 16 persons across three states of the South-East yesterday, 26 April 2021.

The murder of 16 persons by terrorists took place in Anambra, Imo and Ebonyi.

Nine lives were wasted in Anambra and five in Imo as violence escalated since January in the hitherto peaceful region.

Imo and Anambra States were the worst hit with 14 of the deaths recorded in Okigwe and Awkuzu respectively.

The remaining two murders occurred yesterday in Afikpo Local Government Area (LGA) of Ebonyi State.

In Anambra, the palace of a traditional ruler was set on fire, while in Imo, a State Commissioner was shot and wounded.

Two fierce gun battles took place in Imo and Anambra where 14 persons lost their lives, according to media reports.

A terror gang engaged officers of the Okigwe South Police Area Command at Orieagu, Ehime Mbano LGA in a battle that left six dead.

Villagers ran into the bush when the battle was joined, only to return and count six policemen among the dead.

The terrorists also visited and carted away arms and ammunition from the police armory, witnesses said.

Police spokesperson, Orlando Ikeokwu, confirmed the attack. He however said five policemen were killed while one is still missing.

In Anambra, a State Government spokesperson confirmed that nine persons were murdered at Uzo Nkwo, Awkuzu in Oyi LGA.

Information and Public Enlightenment Commissioner, Chief C. Don Adinuba, said the terror gang was from out of state.

Witnesses said the community put up a fight that led to the fatalities, with several persons maimed and injured on both sides.

“The State Government has already taken some measures to fish out those who perpetrated the dastardly killings,” Adinuba said.

In Ebonyi State, terrorists also attacked a detachment of soldiers at a security check point at Amansiri in Afikpo North LGA.

Authorities are yet to confirm the incident, but reports say two soldiers were murdered while others got wounded.

Casualties rise daily as terror gangs encircle Igboland to kill police and citizens, seize weapons of war, and burn buildings.

Terrorists operating in gangs unleash mayhem in Nigeria and the South-East, murder 16 persons across three states yesterday, 26 April 2021.

Governors announce structure for Ebubeagu Outfit

South East Governors announce a structure and other operational modalities for Ebubeagu, the Joint Security Outfit it recently set up.

In addition to setting up an Advisory Board for the outfit, each state will now empower the body with a law.

Forum Chair and Ebonyi Governor, Dave Umahi, told newsmen that attorneys-general of the five states will flesh out a law.

The AGs will work with Joint Security Committee to tweak existing State Laws that will serve the new outfit, he said.

Nevertheless, Umahi reiterated that the joint security outfit will work closely with police and other security agencies in their operations.

The communique has once again left newsmen guessing about how the body will actually be be operationalized

The Governors mandated the Ohanaeze Ndigbo to carry out offensives that will lower the political temperature and protect citizens who are oppressed.

Ohanaeze was ordered to, within 10 days, constitute two committees that will focus on peace and peoples’ welfare in the region.

The first, a Peace and Reconciliation Committee, according to Umahi, will engage South East citizens to pursue “peace and security of our people.”

A separate Welfare Committee is mandated to “to engage and protect our people, especially those who are being unfairly treated.” The communique did not elaborate on persons who are being unfairly treated.

Umahi said the Governors revisited the issue of #EndSARS and expressed support for restructuring, state police, and other issues “as discussed in the last NEC meeting.”

They promised to implement “various ENDSARS Youth Empowerment Programmes in the South East States as soon as possible”

They also said there is a commitment to enact state laws to ban open grazing for cows in the zone and once again urged security agencies to enforce the subsisting ban.

The meeting was attended by religious, political and traditional leaders in the zone, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the Joint Security Committee.

Three of the five Governors – from Abia, Ebonyi and Enugu – were at the meeting while the Imo Governor sent his deputy, Prof. Placid Njoku.

Anambra Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, not only stayed away but did not also send a representative either.

Other top government and political leaders at the meeting were Mines and Power Minister Uchechukwu Ogah, President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prof. George Obiozor, Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe, and old political warhorse, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu.

Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), South East, Bishop Goddy Okafor and Archbishop Emmanuel Chukwuma also attended the meeting.

Our shrinking civic spaces and ‘let’s move’ crowd

Ifeoma Malo argues that on the matter of our shrinking civic spaces, one of the biggest challenges holding Nigeria back is our unwillingness to revisit our history.

old pictureeque Ikoyi
Picturesque Old Ikoyi…
new ikoyi concrete jungle
… and a new concrete jungle

Thinking about our shrinking civic spaces, one of the biggest things holding Nigeria back as a country is the inability to revisit our history. We are so afraid of our history, of examining the lessons we can glean from it. We just continue to plod on hoping to somehow make progress without learning lessons from the past to guide us. Or to help us see why we are here and get an understanding of our identity.  

I see this in how we treat historical structures and spaces in Nigeria. On a recent trip to Lagos, a friend drove me through some of the neighborhoods I grew up in at old Ikoyi. I could barely recognize that neighborhood at all. It was all estate plus mini estates upon banks and shiny new commercial edifices. The number of old colonial buildings that have been torn down to make way for new banks, companies, and new estates is just depressing. Because a better part of my childhood was spent there, memories of parks, playgrounds, lots of green areas and trees came flooding back. Memories of beautiful trees and flowers that provided flora and fauna that added to the ecological beauty of the neighborhood. From the way things are going, given another 10 years, Ikoyi will surely be like Admiralty Way and indeed the whole of Lekki Phase 1!

The first time I went to Lekki Phase 1, it was to see my father’s farm. I must have been nine years old and Lekki Phase 1 was just a year or so old. This was close to 25 years ago. Before my eyes, I saw that the swampy region has been turned into a gleaming new residential estate. The second time, I entered into the estate and to an actual house in the old Phase I Lekki wasteland. This was shortly after another friend got married and invited me to her new home. I thought the concept of a gated estate was really nice.

Fast forward to about 20 years later after that visit. The entire Phase 1 has become almost unrecognizable. I shudder at the anyhowness that is now the landmark of structures that dot the estate, with shiny new blazing neon lights announcing a new business, bank, hotel, and even adult stores and night clubs at every street corner. I have gone back to Google images to try and remember what that piece of land looked like 40 years ago, 40 years and 20 years…

Yesterday, whilst leaving our team retreat venue in Wuse 2, Abuja, I noticed something happening at a popular park on Adetokunbo Ademola and has a large expanse of green areas, where folks could go and relax, eat fish under natural ambiance and have their kids play and relax. I saw that the place has been cordoned off. There is now a shopping mall being built there. However, one could still see the Park signage, including one that indicates clearly that the administration and management of this park falls under the Abuja Parks and Recreation Department.

I just shook my head as I drove away. Like really SMDH…

You all recall the governor that wanted to mow down the largest rain forest in the world located in the Niger Delta to build a superhighway? Yeah that was about to happen until a sustained global campaign halted things. It will still happen eventually. I have often joked that if the Taj Mahal, the Great China Walls or Egyptian Pyramids were in Nigeria, they would have long been dashed to a Nigerian big man who would have torn down all the tourist things going there to build an estate, or build a shopping mall…

It’s no longer a joke. Why does it look like Nigerians have a strong aversion to history or historical structures? On the matter of our shrinking civic spaces, we don’t like digging into our past, and we hate examining how we got here. This is why there is little progress, or they come in little snippets. How will we know what has been done, how we got here, what has been tried, and what pedagogy underpins what we do collectively? How will we know what steps we need to take to move forward, to develop collectively as a people and to avoid mistakes of the past? It is unfortunate that we will never know where we are going as a country …. can never move forward as a people when we so easily destroy, repackage and whitewash history and landmarks, we so easily move on and ignore history and what it teaches us. There can be little development, and no sustained progress without history, without looking back to benchmark or to hold ourselves to account so that we do better.

When we complain, we find that there are two sets of people asking us to take it easy or move on. The more dangerous of the two are not the fence sitters. Rather, they are the pacifists, the “let’s move on crowd.” They expect you to pass through any sort of anguish or trauma or experience whether good or bad, and just move on. While the fence sitters always want to mollify and do everything not to offend both sides, pacifists on the other hand have tools and instruments of change in their hands (those tools could be position, knowledge and information) but will prefer the house to burn down than say or do anything to set records straight and put us on the right path. The let’s move on crowd sound like they want development. They act like it. They say stuff that sounds like it. But watch closely; they are the complete anti-thesis of development. And they act for self-preservation.

Clash in New Artisan Market, an Insight

The Enugu State Government used the same adjectives as did the State Police Command in separate statements describing yesterday’s clash in New Artisan Market Enugu City. In their statements, Government and Police blamed “miscreants,” “hoodlums,” and “undesirable elements” for the botched attempt to demolish the market.

One central issue played out in the statements. They both identified that there were good people, as there were bad, in the place. As usually happens in life, the actions of the bad people affected the good and everyone was marked for eviction. The target of the demolition were the bad eggs in the place.

Our findings suggest that dealing with the security threat the market poses is at the root of the decision to demolish the stalls and return the land to its owners. We learnt that the market became a crime colony almost from the time that Fulani livestock traders were evicted and relocated from their Old Artisan Market location on Ogui Road to the present site near the upscale Independence Layout. Enugu Metro learnt that, for a very long time, government and security agencies looked on helplessly as New Artisan Market became a crime colony where the law could no longer reach. Apart from playing host to visitors from the northern states, the market gradually transformed into a safe haven for local criminals, drug pushers, and commercial sex workers. It became an impossible beat for the police.

Matters came to a head on 17 December 2016 when a policeman on duty in the area was brutally clubbed to death by a criminal gang in the market. Although Police promised an immediate arrest of the culprits and a crackdown on the market, not much happened thereafter. Citizen outrage over the murder of policeman, Emmanuel Ugwu, died down without the police apprehending his killers. It was during this period that the Enugu State House of Assembly ordered the shut down of the market.

Members of the House Committee on Commerce and Industry gave the order the day after the murder, when a team visited the Market. The lawmakers had observed the unsavoury sanitary condition of the market and noted that the area had become a breeding ground for criminals.

Most Enugu residents are aware that in addition to a constant stream of suspected criminal elements from outside the state, Artisan Market stall owners converted their stalls to makeshift residence for commercial sex workers. The area also became a popular rendezvous to buy and use weed and other hard substances.

On the flip side, the New Artisan Market is also a recruitment centre for able-bodied northerners who act as security guards, construction workers and handymen for landlords and wealthy individuals in Enugu and the South East region. The market is one of the first ports of call for northern youths who have been streaming to the South East since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out. From this location, they are dispatched to homes, offices and other service locations in the region. Our findings show that the security agencies have identified the area as a potential or actual safe zone for criminal gangs attacking police formations and killing policemen in the region. This explains why the government and security agencies promptly united to launch a bid to displace them.

The ease with which they withdrew AK-47s to battle a police and military detachment to a standstill spoke volumes about what is being hidden in the enclave. The criminals were able to repel the incursion and turn around to inflict heavy damage. Police said they “obstructed vehicular movement, injured unascertained number of persons, vandalized two caterpillars that had gone to carry out the demolition exercise and set ablaze three vehicles.”

Although government and the security agencies are united in the goal to free the market from criminal control, the Enugu State government had another worry on how this action will be interpreted. The State Government therefore worked a fine line in dealing with the good people in the market, in order not to make this look like an ethnic conflict issue. In its statement, the Administration spoke of efforts made to quietly depopulate the area without hurting the good people and how this effort was hijacked by those who were profiting from the criminality in the area.

“The Enugu State Government, law enforcement agencies and the leadership of the predominantly Hausa merchant community of New Artisan Market were duly briefed on the intended execution of the judgement and its implications,” the statement began.

“In line with good conscience and utmost regard for human dignity, a robust plan was set in motion to resettle these traders whose importance to the economy of the State cannot be underestimated.

“While the leadership and genuine members of the business community peacefully and gladly leveraged on the alternative property benevolently offered by the peace-loving Governor of the State, some miscreants and hoodlums who had apparently reduced the property to an abode of criminality and immorality capitalized on the prevailing circumstance to instigate a crisis…”

The Governor went on to talk about how he promotes peace and instills “the spirit of harmonious coexistence of law-abiding residents within the state without prejudice to ethnic or religious sentiments.” He promised that this policy wiil not be thwarted by acts of “brigandage, disobedience of court order, gimmick or brazen lawlessness.”

It was also a masterstroke for government, army and police to stand behind the original owners of the land to execute the plan to sanitize the area and flush out criminal elements therein. As one government official put it, “no one expected that the Fulanis will condescend to approve that their place be turned into a colony of thieves and prostitutes.”

In the final analysis, it has become obvious that the Enugu State Government has marked New Artisan Market as the darkest security spot in the State. The implication is that the security agents will reinforce to launch another demolition operation on the market, as the Governor promised in his statement. The only fear is that the element of surprise has gone and a second confrontation may therefore likely be bloodier than yesterday’s clash, unless well-meaning northern leaders intervene to get the leadership of the market to capitulate. There is comfort in the knowledge that both the army and the police are united in the effort to dislodge the criminal elements that have given New Artisan Market Enugu a bad image.

Authorities react to Enugu Clash at New Artisan Market

Questions over State Govt interest

Government and Police authorities react to yesterday’s Enugu clash between shop occupiers and landowners at the New Artisan Market.

In separate statements, the authorities supported the attempt by landowners to repossess an area of land encircling New Artisan Market.

The authorities corroborated Enugu Metro’s report yesterday 22 April that “Nwajaja” family of Akpugo won court judgements over the land.

In its statement, the State Government said the property was “illegally occupied by traders, particularly livestock dealers from the North,” and that the rightful owner is “the family of a revered traditional Ruler and Statesman, late HRH Igwe Gabriel Nnaji (Nwajanja).”

This Government position confirms speculations last night that authorities knew and also sanctioned the botched attempt to repossess the land.

The State Government Statement claimed that New Artisan Market traders were briefed on the judgement and plans to demolish stalls.

“The Enugu State Government, law enforcement agencies and the leadership of the predominantly Hausa merchant community of New Artisan Market were duly briefed on the intended execution of the judgement and its implications.

“In line with good conscience and utmost regard for human dignity, a robust plan was set in motion to resettle these traders whose importance to the economy of the State cannot be underestimated,” government said.

The statement, signed by Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s Adviser on Information, Mr. Steve Oruruo, described what happened as acts of “brigandage, roguery, banditry and lawlessness.”

Oruruo accused the traders of “acting under the cloak of a demonstration while surreptitiously and unlawfully disobeying an order of Court.”

Police blame “miscreants”

On its part, Enugu State Police Command said citizens were injured while vehicles were burnt or vandalized by “unscrupulous elements.”

State Police Commissioner, Mr. Mohammed Aliyu, made the announcement in a statement signed by police spokesperson, Assistant Superintendent Daniel Ndukwe.

The traders, he said, set off bonfires, “obstructed vehicular movement, injured unascertained number of persons, vandalized two caterpillars that had gone to carry out the demolition exercise and set ablaze three vehicles.”

Police have restored calm in the area, after arresting five suspects for questioning in connection with the disturbances, Ndukwe said in the statement.

The was signed by Daniel Ndukwe, the spokesperson and an Assistant Superintendent.

Traders Accuse Government

Leaders of the market traders who spoke to Enugu Metro on condition of anonymity said they were fed up with the inconsistencies of the State Government.

In particular, they pointed to inconsistent government policies that have seen them moved from one location to another within the metropolis.

The Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA) distanced itself from yesterday’s botched demolition exercise

The authority however said in a statement that traders continue to do business in the area in defiance of a government order to quit.

“Recall that the state government had in some years past shut down the new Artisan Market,” the statement added.

Questions arise over State Government interest

Questions were raised last night about the motive behind deploying awesome military and police firepower to enforce a court order on land matters.

Eyewitnesses wondered whether it was possible for an individual to mobilize both army and police to enforce a court judgement.

“Only a state government could have mobilized the army to enforce a court order over a piece of land,” one said.

“The State Government definitely has a hand in this,” said another witness who claims to be a barrister.

Merchants battle Enugu landowners at New Artisan Market

A violent clash between an official demolition squad and shopowners left dozens wounded today as northern merchants battle Enugu landowners over ownership of the New Artisan Livestock Market.

Initially, residents of the area thought the clash was between officials of Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA) and northern traders whose shops were about to be demolished.

However, ECTDA took to Twitter to swiftly deny that it was involved in the clash. It described the attempt to link the Authority with the demolition and clash as a “misinformation.”

Enugu Metro investigations however show that the contest was between a landowner who came with a posse of security personnel to enforce a court judgement on the land.

We learnt that the late Igwe Raymond Nnaji of Akpugo had taken the Enugu State Government to court over ownership of the land where the Artisan Market is currently located.

According to a witness who is conversant with the case but pleaded to remain anonymous, the case was decided in favour of the family.

“Government did not contest the judgement and the family came today to enforce it when they met this resistance,” he said.

The traders who occupy the shops are mostly merchants bringing in cows and foodstuff from the northern region.

Their position, Enugu Metro learnt, is that the State Government officially relocated them from their old Ogui Road Market to the new site and has not given them a quit notice.

A lawyer who is conversant with the case told Enugu Metro that the Nwajanja family {as the late Igwe’s family is popularly known), has the title to the land.

“But the northern merchants occupied it illegally and built up the place. And now they are resisting the attempt to enforce the court judgement.”

The ECTDA statement indicates that the Government is yet to make up its mind how to respond to the tricky situation.

There were no reports of casualties from the violent clash, the first time that northern merchants will battle landowners in Enugu.

Ugwuanyi barricades Govt House, causing traffic gridlocks

Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi this week put up concrete barricades on major roads around Govt House Enugu, in a bid to ward off potential gunmen attack.

The barricades, placed in strategic artery roads around Lion Building, have however come at great and unbearable costs to citizens who live near or use the roads.

Enugu Metro learnt that South East Governors who met at Owerri on 11 April 2021 for a security summit went home and began fortifying their offices and residences.

The Enugu concrete barricades shut down a major approach road to the city as well as link roads created to ease traffic flow.

Enugu city commuters have expressed bitter disappointment at the development as this has denied them smooth rides along well paved roads in the upscale Independence Layout District.

Several citizens have taken to the social media to condemn the traffic disruptions caused by the concrete barricades.

One of them, a top cleric in Enugu poured out his frustrations with the South East Governors on Facebook where he said the following:

“With the rising spate of insecurity in the region, all they could think of is to run into their various state houses with their tails between their legs like cowards and block important roads to protect themselves, making life difficult for the people they are supposed to be their chief security officers.”

Another commuter interviewed by Enugu Metro at Nza Street used a traditional story telling approach to express his disappointment thusly:

“Once upon a time in a nearby community, there were rumors of attacks on households in a clan of five autonomous communities. The traditional ruler of one of the communities got worried and decided to take measures to secure and fortify his domain. After a meeting with other clan heads, he returned to tell the citizens that he has teamed up with his peers to stop the marauders, that they have created an organisation that will use the aura of the lion to deal with the security issue.

“Worried community members anxiously waited to see and feel enhanced security. Alas, they woke up one morning to see the Ruler has barricaded and secured only his Palace. His subjects were literally locked out to face the onslaught of whatever attacks may be imminent. We are looking on in shock as we view our ruler become so fearful and so selfish at the same time. But what can we do?” he concluded.

It’s for security of the Governor, officials say

An official who spoke on condition of anonymity, as he was not authorized to discuss it, justified the action on security grounds.

“We were advised that Government Houses in the South East could become the next targets of bandit attacks, the type going on at police stations.

“We had to carry out preemptive action to secure our Government House from easy access and attack by the criminals,” the official said.

Ugwuanyi barricades Govt House

Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi barricades Govt House, blocking major road arteries and creating traffic gridlocks in Independent Layout District, Enugu City.

Cover Photo: Gridlock at Independence Avenue this evening