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ENUGU STATE
PHYSICAL SETTING
PEOPLE, POPULATION AND SETTLEMENT
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PEOPLE, POPULATION AND SETTLEMENT
Posted to the web: 1/30/2003 11:45:19 AM
 
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Ethnic Composition, Languages, Culture and the Arts: Ethnically and linguistically, Enugu State is lgbo. English is also widely spoken as the second language, and a visitor can make himself understood anywhere in the state if he can speak some English or its local variant, the pidgin.

The lgbos in general are widely known to be very resourceful, enterprising and hardworking. The state naturally divides into two cultural zones based on local dialectical and choreographic patterns. These are the Enugu and Nsukka Zones.

However, many other cultural features are common to all parts of the state, namely, the family as the basic social unit, the belief system and the system of political organization. One of the most lively features of Enugu State is its cultural dynamism. Two important traditional festivals are observed every year: the Masquerade and the New Yam festivals.

A wild African Elephant in Enugu Zoo
A wild African Elephant in Enugu Zoo

The masquerade is a very important institution and features the Mmanwu, Ekpe, Omaba and Odo masquerades in the Enugu cultural zone. Others are the Omaba and Odo in Nsukka zone. The New Yam festival is known by various names such as Joku, lhejoku or Njoku Ji.

The festival marks the end of the farming season and ushers in the harvest and consumption of the new yam. There are also some specialised festi vals such as the 'Hutara' festival of Mgbo which serves as a forum for bringing maidens to the mar riage market.

The traditional industries include wood carving, especially prominent at OjiRiver, Awgu and Nkanu; blacksmithing at Ezza, OgboduAba, Lejja, Nsukka, Amaokwe and Umana, and pottery at Achi, Opi, lnyi and Ngwo. Others are basket and mat making at Awgu, Nenwe and Oduma, and cloth weaving and dyeing based on the local cotton and traditional colouring materials such as ufie and odo, The latter activity is common among the women.

Population Structure and Distribution: Enugu State has a population of 2,101,016 (992,104 males and 1,108,912 females) within a total area of 7,618 sq. km. This gives a population density of about 268 persons per sq. km., which is high when compared with the average national density of about 96 persons per sq. km.

Expectedly, population concentration is highest in the urban centres, with densities ranging between 300 and 600 per sq.km. In a state where the great majority of the people are rural, densities affect the intensity of land use and productivity of the land. Four pop ulation density regions are recognised. Areas with over 600 persons per sq. km and between 400 600 persons per sq. km. make up the congested rural districts.

Farmland is scarce in these two den sity areas. The medium density areas support between 200 and 400 persons per sq. km, while the sparsely settled areas have an average density of less than 200 persons per sq. kirn. The sparsely settled LGAs are UzoUwani and OjiRiver, while the congested rural areas are lgboEze, lgboEtiti, Nsukka (rural) and Enugu (rural).

Urban and Rural Settlement and Problem of Urban Primacy: The state has three important urban centres: Enugu, Nsukka and OjiRiver. Enugu is a modern city which covers an area of 85 sq. km. with a population of about 500,000 (Government of Enugu State of Nigeria, 1992).

It is a well developed coalmining, commercial, financial and industrial centre, with a booming economy and vast investment opportunities. Its intimate associa tion with coal has earned it the euphemistic name of 'Coal city'. The Central Bank of Nigeria has a branch in the town, and one bank the Orient bank has its headquarters also in the town. Enugu has an airport and good communication facilities with modem telephone, telegraph, fax and postal services.

The intracity road network is adequately diffused and there are many highways and a railway leading out to other states. As a town, Enugu has had a chequered political history. Starting from 1917 when it was officially declared a secondclass township, its political hin terland grew very fast and vast; but since 1967, it has been shrinking. Enugu has been capital of dif ferent parts and sizes of the country.

Thus, since 1967 each one of the present nine states east of the Niger, Abia, Akwa lbom, Anambra , Bayelsa, Cross River, Ebonyi, Imo and Rivers has had Enugu as its capital, at one time or the other. Indeed, Enugu's political hinterland has shrunken over time to less than one twentieth of its size in the thirties. But industrial and commercial growth has been sustained. Enugu now has industrial estates at

Emene, a suburban community, and at Dwani with in the city. Emene harbours key industries which include ANAMMCO (a motor assembly plant for Mercedez Benz trucks), Ernnite which manufac tures building products, and Nigergas, producing industrial gas.

There are also the Sunrise Flour Mills, the Niger Steel which produces iron bars and other materials, and the Eastern Plastics Limited. The Ukwani industrial estate is for mediumsize enterprises. Industries in other parts of the town include Vegetable Oil Products at nearby Achi, Livestock Feedmill at NinthMile Corner, Ebony Paints at Awkunanaw, Vanguard Industries and the Nigerian Construction and Furniture Company (NCFC) which undertake construction and also produce furniture.

The general economic recession in the country has, however, adversely affected the fortunes of most of the industries. They are being rehabilitated by the new civilian administration. Banking and finance constitute the economic wheel of the city. The main market at Ogbette is one of the largest in the country.

Amusement parks adorn the city and there are not less than twenty of them in addition to a zoo with a botanical garden attached to it. Most of the state's institutions of higher learning are located in Enugu. In comparison to the other towns, the city of Enugu enjoys a veritable primacy. The concentra tion of population and development facilities within it outweighs, by far, the situation in the other cen tres. Hence, growth potentialities are also much brighter for the town.

Nsukka, the second largest town, has an area of 30sq. km. and a population of about 90,000. Its importance derives mainly from its status as a uni versity town, the main campus of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) being located there.

The infrastructural facilities are, however, reasonably adequate and include a large daily market espe cially for agricultural produce at comparatively cheap prices, a good network of roads, post offices, a telephone exchange, finance houses and banks, medical and sporting facilities. Oji River is the third largest town.

It is 3 km in radius with a population of about 85,000. The town is noted for a concentration of government pres ence, in terms of social infrastructure, out of pro portion with its size. It has a Leper Colony, a Police College, a Cooperative College and a Special Education Centre for the deaf, dumb, blind and paraplegic. Each of these is of international repute. There is a School of Health Technology for training health staff such as midwives, health superintendents and extension workers.

There is also a sprawl ing market for the agricultural produce of the rich hinterland area of Achi, Nachi and Ugwuoba. A thermal electricity power station is located at Oji River.

Besides the above towns, the headquarters of the ruralbased LGAs are functional and effective central places in the countryside, each with its own requite infrature. The large number of these rural central places is indicative of the wide scope of incipient urbanisation which is going on in the state.

The government's rural development pro grammes emphasise road construction and rehabil itation aimed at improving access to the hitherto marginally exploited farmlands and evacuation of agricultural produce to the urban centres. Rural electrification is also pursued vigorously as a necessary infrastructure for the success of smallscale industrial schemes.

Various agricultural innova tions are being introduced and the farmer every where is encouraged to go into largescale farming through adoption of these innovations which include tractortilling of the land, irrigation practices, land consolidation and intensive farming, seed and livestock breeding and multiplication, fish farming, etc.

source improvement to provide clean and safe potable water in the villages, provision of Primary Health Care (PHC) facilities, and develop ment of effective rural information delivery systems are other important dimensions of the rural devel opment programme.

The activities of the People's Bank of Nigeria in the state have encouraged many communities to establish Community Banks, and through them a lot of rural people, groups and organisations have received credit facilities for broadbased enterprises.

Effective Community governments, through Community Development Associations or town unions, are also being put in place to promote rural development. With all these rural development programmes there has been an increase and diversification of skilled manpower, reduction of unemployment, institutionalisation of selfreliant culture, availability of social amenities as well as reduction of the inci dence of ruralurban migration.

Settlement in the towns is usually laid out in dis tinct camps and residential quarters. In Enugu urban centre, for example, residences are delineat ed into the Government Residential Area (GRA), the Ogui, Asata, Uwani, New Haven, Awkunanaw, Garki, Abakpa Nike and OguiNike Areas, the Independence Layout, the Colliery Camps, China Town and the Railway Artisan Quarters.

Some are high density, while others are medium and lowden sity areas. The rural settlements are dispersed over much of the farmlands. For almost every community, however, there are vast unoccupied areas set aside as farmlands and somewhat far removed from the settlements.

These farmlands are called 'agu' in each case, and it is from them that most of the year's harvests are taken. Rural settlement nucle ations are the exception rather than the rule.

 

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