Thursday, 1 December 2016


Entering what used to be a grinding mine,
what hits you is the sorry site of dilapidated structures

At the remains of the 'ONYEAMA MINES' in Enugu during my visit to Enugu.
King Onyeama Onwusi, was born about the 1870s, had over 50 wives, some of whom were diplomatic marriages not consumed. His son, Hon. Justice Daddy Onyeama, served as Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria from 1964 to 1967;
Judge on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in Hague, Netherlands and Judge at the World Bank Administrative Tribunal. Pa Onyeama is the grandfather of Dillibe Onyeama, the first African at the exclusive Eten College, England. He is also the grandfather of Geoffrey Onyeama, a former Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs.

So much neglect from the state govermmemt
The rough, untarred road leading to Onyeama mine

British rule reached his village, Eke, in 1908. He decreed and defined power in single sentence with a wave of hand. He imported Ilorin Muslim Medicine Men (oracular consultations) thereby indirectly introduced Islam in Igbo land. He encouraged commerce, Agriculture and Industrialization, no wonder the first coal mine was named after him. In May 1924, he attended the British Empire Exhibition and was equally honoured by invitation to the Buckingham Palace.

Eze Onyeama n'Eke(King Onyeama of Eke) the greatest King ever lived east of the Niger

His two months sojourn in Britain was an eye opener, he embraced colonial Governance, the Catholic Church and Education as a gateway into the future. He invested in Education by sending his sons and others abroad for studies. He instilled a profound positive sense of pride in Ibo Cultural and Historical heritage. He bequeathed on Ndigbo a fortified political and administrative capital, Enugu-the coal.
In 1909, coal was discovered in Enugu. Later the Ogbete drift mine commenced 1915. Sir Frederick Lugard, the Governor-General of Nigeria, visited Enugu in 1915 and inspected the coal mine, he deplored the scattered and unplanned development, later the Ogbete mine's operations and others in the country were later merged into a new corporation.

The ruins of the mining site 

The Pa Onyeama mine in Enugu is a historical ancient sight for all tourists that love history and nature. It is relevant to the socio economic history of Nigeria and yet today we let the remains of the mine named after him to waste. The Enugu state Government and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, together with the Pa Onyeama’s family should save the situation and generate millions as a tourist site.
I and Mr. Dillibe Onyeama, the grandson of Pa Onyeama


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