Enugu, usually referred to as Enugu State to distinguish it from the city of Enugu, is a state in southeastern Nigeria. Its capital is Enugu, from which the state – created in 1991 from part of the old Anambra State – derives its name. The principal cities in the state are Enugu, Agbani, Awgu, Udi, Oji-River, and Nsukka. Enugu State consists of 17 Local Government Areas. The name of the state derives from its capital city, Enugu. The word “Enugu” (from Enu Ugwu) means “the top of the hill”. The first European settlers arrived in the area in 1909, led by a British mining engineer named Albert Kitson. In his quest for silver, he discovered coal in the Udi Ridge. The Colonial Governor of Nigeria Frederick Lugard took a keen interest in the discovery, and by 1914 the first shipment of coal was made to Britain. As mining activities increased in the area, a permanent cosmopolitan settlement emerged, supported by a railway system. Enugu acquired township status in 1917 and became strategic to British interests. Foreign businesses began to move into Enugu, the most notable of which were John Holt, Kingsway Stores, the British Bank of West Africa and the United Africa Company.
From Enugu the British administration was able to spread its influence over the Southern Province of Nigeria. The colonial past of Enugu is today evidenced by the Georgian building types and meandering narrow roads within the residential area originally reserved for the whites, an area which is today called the Government Reserved Area (GRA).
From being the capital of the Southern Provinces, Enugu became the capital of the Eastern Region (now divided into nine States), the capital of now defunct Federal Republic of Biafra, thereafter, the capital of East Central State, Anambra State, (old) Enugu State, and now the capital of the present Enugu State through a process of state creation and diffusion of administrative authority.
Governor: Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi
Also Known As: Coal City State
Official Website: www.enugustate.gov.ng
Major Towns: Enugu, Nsukka, Oji River
Enugu State is one of the states in the eastern part of Nigeria. The state shares borders with Abia State and Imo State to the south, Ebonyi State to the east, Benue State to the northeast, Kogi State to the northwest and Anambra State to the west. Enugu, the capital city of Enugu State, is approximately 2½ driving hours away from Port Harcourt, where coal shipments exited Nigeria. Enugu is also located within an hour’s drive from Onitsha, one of the biggest commercial cities in Africa and two hours’ drive from Aba, another very large commercial city, both of which are trading centres in Nigeria. Enugu has good soil-land and climatic conditions all year round, sitting at about 223 metres (732 ft) above sea level, and the soil is well drained during its rainy seasons.
Economically, the state is predominantly rural and agrarian, with a substantial proportion of its working population engaged in farming, although trading (18.8%) and services (12.9%) are also important. In the urban areas trading is the dominant occupation, followed by services. A small proportion of the population is also engaged in manufacturing activities, with the most pronounced among them located in Enugu, Oji, Ohebedim and Nsukka. The state boasts of a number of markets especially at each of the divisional headquarters, prominent of which is the Ogbete Main market in the State capital, Enugu. There is also one of the largest grains market East of the Niger, the Orie Orba Market which plays host to most farmers from the North Central States of Benue, Kogi, Nassarawa and Plateau who use the market to dispose their produce for consumers in South-East and South-Southern Nigeria . Every four days, grains and other farm produce are found in large quantities and at highly competitive prices.
Electricity supply is relatively stable in Enugu and its Environs. The Oji River Power Station (which used to supply electricity to all of Eastern Nigeria) is located in Enugu State. With the deregulation of electricity generation in Nigeria, and the privatisation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), it is hoped the State Government would assist private investors to negotiate the take over and reactivation of the Oji Power Station. This is more so with the proximity of the Enugu coal mines to the power station, a driving distance of about 20 minutes. There are also traces of crude oil in Ugwuoba, in the same Oji-River Local Government area of the state. The state will also negotiate with investors interested in investing in the coal mining in Enugu. The coal industry used to be one of the biggest employer of labour in the state and the state is looking to attract investors in the industry.
Nigeria’s first indigenous university, (University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN)), is located in Enugu State. The state also hosts the Enugu State University of Science & Technology (ESUT), Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Federal Cooperative College, Oji River (FCCO); Enugu State College of Education Technical, Enugu; Caritas University, Amorji-Nike, Renaissance University, Ugbawka. The University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) is located in Enugu State, as is the Enugu State University Teaching Hospital and College of Medicine.