EhandiagU Ehaalumuna, an
agricultural settlement in Nsukka Local Government of Enugu State, is known as
a food basket, yet it is a community in denial. Despite its endowment in
fertile land and resources, the riches do not reflect in its inhabitants’ life.
The community’s development
crisis informed the visit by 300-Level Mass Communication students of the
University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). The visit was part of the requirements for
their course in development journalism. The students were there to educate the
residents on steps to take to attract development to their community.
The residents relived their plight as the students, led by their lecturers, moved round the community. Elder John Nnaji, said: “The community is backward and we live in extreme poverty. Though, we are blessed with natural resources, we cannot pay for our children’s school fees.”
The situation, CAMPUSLIFE
gathered, has made many residents to leave the area for cities in search of
greener pastures. Residents complained about lack of infrastructure, such as
roads, pipe-borne water, electricity and health centres.
A youth leader, Abgo Chika, said
the community had the worst road in the state, saying the government had
neglected the people. He said: “Our community has abundant bees that produce
good honey. We have cashew seeds, which we sell at give-away prices, because
they are wasting. We don’t have opportunity to attract business investment
because of the bad roads. This is dragging the community back in terms of
Besides, the community is facing
inadequate schools and lack of hospitals, which according to Mrs Rosemary Odo,
a resident, has put lives of the populace in danger. “Expectant mothers die,
because of lack of functional healthcare facilities,” she said.
On the efforts made by the
community leaders to address the situation, Nnaji said: “We contributed money
to construct two bridges at Eme River. We have constructed a road through that
bridge and it leads to Premier Junction. But, all these were achieved through
the community members’ effort.”
The community traditional ruler,
Igwe Daniel Ugwuanyi, said the residents had intimated Governor Emeka Ugwuanyi
about their challenges, expressing optimism that the governor would take action
to solve the community challenges. The monarch urged the government to tap into
the resources of the community, which, he said, has the potential to drive
development in the state.
He said: ‘’The cashew plantation
we have on 1,500 acres of land can become a source of revenue generation for
the government. It has huge employment opportunities for youths in the area.
The resources in the community are enough to contribute to economic growth.”
While addressing the community
leaders on how to promote development of the community, a Mass Communication
lecturer, Mrs Omah Ekwueme, urged the residents to think out of the box and
harness their resources, stressing absolute depend on government to solve their
problems may further compound the community’s woes.
She said there must be a proper
communication channel between the community and government. She also argued
that proper packaging and processing of agricultural produce, such as cashew
seeds and other cash crops, would enhance the
marketability of the crops and profits of the farmers.