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THE QUARRY INDUSTRY IN ABAKALIKI, 1970-2007

Abstract

 

In spite of the existence of the quarry industry in Abakaliki not much has been written on its history and the contribution of the industry to the people of Abakaliki. The study intends to fill the gap. The work traced the origin of the industry to the Colonial period, pointing out when, how and where it started at a section of the juju hill at the back of the present Ebonyi State Government House. The industry assisted the colonial administrators in bridging the infrastructural gap during the period. The work also discussed the economy of Abakaliki before 1970 indicating that from time immemorial Abakaliki economy was mainly agriculturally based, though trade and traditional industries were practiced. The consequences of the industry on Abakaliki was looked at which shows its advantages and disadvantages. The advantages include employment generation, execution of community development projects, educational empowerment, and execution of some State Government projects. On the other hand the disadvantages of the industry indicated, decline in agriculture, environmental degradation, destruction/dis-articulation of societal values, traditions and norms, energy crisis and health hazards. The conclusion one can draw from the activities of the industry is that much more could be done for the people by both the government and the quarry industry if both sides can encourage the welfare of Abakaliki people.

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Chapter One: Introduction  ….           ….        ….        ….        …         ….        1

Background to the Study        ….        ….        ….        ….        …         ….        1

Theoretical Framework          …         …         ….        ….        ….        ….        4

Statement of Problem            …         …         …         …         ….        .…        5

Purpose of Study         …         …         …         …         …         …         …         6

Significance of Study  …          …         …         …         …         …         …         6

Scope of Study            …         …         …         …         …         …         …         6

Literature Review        …         …         …         …         ….        …         ….        7

Sources and Methods …         …         ….        ….        ….        ….        ….        10

 

Chapter Two: Economy of Abakaliki before 1970.  ….          ….        ….        11

Agriculture       …         …         …         …         ….        …         ….        ….        11

Traditional Industries  …         …         …         …         ….        ….        ….        14

Trade …           …         …         …         ….        …         ….        ….        ….        17

 

Chapter Three : The Origin of the Industry ….            ….       ….        ….        20

Development of Quarry Industry in Abakaliki …         …         …         …         20

Growth of Quarry Industry in Abakaliki          …         …         ….        …         24

 

Chapter Four: Consequences of the Industry on Abakaliki ….         ….        41

Advantages …. …         …         …         …         ….        …         …         …         41

Employment Generation        …         …         …         …         ….        …         42

Execution of Community Based Development Projects.        ….        ….        45

Educational Empowerment  …           …         …         …         ….        …         47

Execution of the State Government Projects. …        …         …         …         48

Disadvantages  …        …         …         …         ….        …         ….        ….        52

Decline in Agriculture …          …         …         ….        …         ….        ….        52

Environmental Degradation …            …         …         ….        …         ….        53

Destruction/Disarticulation of Societal Values, Traditions and norms. ….    54

Energy Crisis …            …         …         ….        …         ….        ….        ….        56

Health Hazard              …         …         ….        …         ….        ….        ….        57

 

Chapter Five: Summary and Conclusion … …           …         ….        …         62

Bibliography …            …         …         ….        …         ….        ….        ….        65

Translation of Oral Interview …          …         ….        …         ….        ….        68

Chapter One Introduction

 

Background to the Study

Quarry is the excavation, extraction and breaking of stones into aggregates for construction purposes such as bridges, houses, roads, railways and others[1]. Abakaliki before the coming of the quarry industry at Onuebonyi-Izzi in Abakaliki Local Government Area, Ebonyi state, earned their livelihood mainly through agriculture. About 85% 0f Abakaliki population are farmers. Very little of the agricultural production is mechanized and so the industry depends almost entirely on family labour[2].

Abakaliki is the capital of the present day Ebonyi State in South eastern Nigeria. The inhabitants are primarily members of the Igbo ethnic nation. It used to be parts of both Anambra and Enugu States before the creation of Ebonyi State in 1996. Abakaliki town lies at the intersection of the Enugu, Afikpo and Ogoja roads. It is a leading producer of processed rice, yam and cassava for decades. Abakaliki has an estimated population of 141, 438 according to the 2006 census3.

Naturally, Abakaliki is endowed with two typical but very important stones namely shale/sedimentary and granite4. These stones are predominant in Onuebonyi-Izzi, Ezzamgbo (Odomoke) and Ezillo; but the focus of the study is mainly on Onuebonyi-Izzi in Abakaliki Local Government Area. See map 1. These stone types constitute construction aggregates, most of which are quarried[3].

 

 

When Igboland came under British Colonial rule from 1900, it was extended to Abakaliki and Afikpo by August 1902[4]. The British authorities, saddled with the responsibilities of providing infrastructure like offices and residential quarters for their officials resorted to forced labour[5] and coerced the indigenous populace to provide them with lumps of stones cracked manually from the already existing surface sedimentary rock depositions in the area. These stones were used in the building of offices/residential quarters popularly known as Government Reserved Area (GRA) and in the construction of bridges which linked together different parts of the town.

As a result of this development, the Colonial authorities were able to initiate some reforms in the people’s means of livelihood. The establishment of indigenous banks in the 1930s and the consequences of World War II[6] further empowered Nigerian businessmen to have access to credit facilities. The early 1950’s mineral exploration in Nigeria undertaken by the then Nigeria Mining Corporation revealed the presence of sedimentary rock deposits in commercial quantity in Abakaliki[7][8]. During the period, the power to exploit minerals and the management of stone blasting was vested in the Nigerian Mining Corporation which granted a lease to Trade Afrik in 1956. Trade Afrik in turn gave stone blasting licenses to private owned companies like Ebenezer and Sons Limited, G.U Oguike, “Spera in Deo”, Muoneke and Sons Limited, Eze and Bros, and Pecuno Nigerian Limited. The lumps of blasted stones were conveyed in trucks from the mines at Onuebonyi–Izzi to the crushing sites located along the Old Abakaliki-Enugu Highway, for final processing and marketing. In 1961 the Eastern Nigerian Government established a quarry out-fit at the back of Juju Hill in Abakaliki for use in road construction and rehabilitation projects during the period under review[9].

 

 

Figure 1: Photo showing a truck conveying blasted stones from the mine to the crushing site.

At the end of the Nigerian Civil War in January, 1970 General Yakubu Gowon regime embarked on his post-civil war programme based on the so called rehabilitation, reconstruction and reconciliation11. It was geared towards upgrading and repair of damaged infrastructures in the former East Central State and other war affected parts of the country. As a result an Italian Multi-National Construction Company, SEGEEN Nigeria Limited, was hired for the reconstruction of the Abakaliki-Enugu Federal Highway, while Reynold Construction Company (RCC), built the Enugu Airport, commissioned on August 1976 by the Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters, Major General Musa YarAdua[10]. About ninety five percent of quarried stones for the reconstruction and construction of the two projects were sourced from Abakaliki quarries at different locations[11].

The expiration of the multi-national firms contract coupled with the desperate bid to consolidate the gains of the new economic empowerment, led many private owned companies into obtaining licences to crush stones in Abakaliki with patronage from various parts of the old East Central State and, beyond At present, there are over one-hundred private owned quarry companies, and one government owned quarry company in Abakaliki and its environs producing quarried stones of different sizes and shapes.

The companies, both government and privately owned, have different degrees of memorandum of understanding (MoU)[12] with the host communities who provided a conducive atmosphere for the exploitation of the solid mineral deposits. The new economic environment ignored the socio-economic status of the host communities. Recently, observations have shown that the host communities are now reluctant to give out more of their farm lands for quarrying activities. They are already aware of the environmental implications of the quarry, and the inability by the operators to adhere strictly to the international mining standard and environmental management[13].

However, Abakaliki remains the melting pot of quarry products east of the Niger or in the south-east geo-political zone.[14] This to a large extent has enhanced the living standard of the indigenous communities and stranger elements.

 

Theoretical Framework.

The research looks at the extent Onuebonyi-Izzi quarry can be regarded as a foreign enclave as enunciated by H. Myint in his work the Economics of The Developing Countries.[15] The term “enclave” is derived from the Latin word “inclavatus” meaning “Shut in, locked up” and clavis meaning “key”. The term enclave is commonly used to recognize the existence of a fragment enclosed in something of an alien nature[16].  

In this theory Myint enunciated that such foreign enclaves are incapable of transmitting a satisfactory type of economic growth to the area of activity/developing countries. 19 He also posited that such enterprises are concerned with primary production and not with manufacturing industry. That mines and plantations fail to become “leading economic sector” in the underdeveloped countries because they are concerned mainly with export of agricultural goods. That the economy operate cheap labour policy which had perpetuated in turn low wages and low productivity. That indigenous labour are used as un-differentiated mass of brawn power and therefore fail to improve the skill and dexterity of the people. And this accounted for the dualism between the mining sector and the indigenous/traditional sector of the economy.

Finally, the circumstances surrounding the emergence of the quarry industry in Abakaliki (Onuebonyi-Izzi) depicts presence of an indigenous labour. And for the large quantities of shale/sedimentary and granite rock deposit in the area to have remained un-exploited in the past is as a result of poor state of internal economic organization and inelastic demand which resulted to low wages and low productivity. Therefore the failure to improve the skill and ability of the people could be explained in terms of the “enclave” model. And to what extent the Abakaliki

(Onuebonyi-Izzi) quarry industry reflects the above characteristics will be taken into cognizance.

 

Statement of Problem

In-spite of the existence of the Quarry industry in Abakaliki not much have been written on the history and contribution of the industry to Abakaliki. This lacuna created an avenue for debate amongst those who see the industry as having made positive contributions and those who argue to the contrary. It therefore becomes imperative that both views should be critically scrutinized and evaluated with empirical data to arrive at an impartial conclusion.

 

Purpose of Study.

The continuous neglect of the quarry industry in Abakaliki, despite it’s economic importance informed the need for this study. The research will help to balance the arguments on the positive and negative contributions of the Quarry industry to the development of Abakaliki.

 

Significance of Study

Knowledge gained from the study would help town planners and policy makers in determining where best to locate industries. The study should equally serve as a reference material for those interested in the quarry industry. Finally, the study will assist in the management of other quarry sites that may be established in Abakaliki in the future.

 

Scope of Study

The study covers the period 1970-2007. This is because 1970 marked the end of the

Nigerian Civil War and the beginning of the post war reconstruction programme while the year

2007 marked the end of the second tenure of the first civilian administration of Governor Sam Egwu in Ebonyi State, and the inception of Governor Martin Elechi’s first tenure which created high demand for quarry products to accommodate the ever increasing infrastructural development in the state.

It was also in 2007 that Governor Elechi came up with a policy that relocated the industry crushing site in 2009 from the new Abakaliki-Enugu highway to the present location at Umuogharu. This created the first ever road map for the industry in the economic development of Ebonyi State.

Literature Review

In the course of this research work, a review of available works in the area of study was undertaken. However, a few recorded researchers have been carried out on Abakaliki but nearly none mentioned the origin, development, growth and consequences of the quarry industry on Abakaliki.

A.N. Nwibo and E.A. Ugwuja et al, blazed a trail on quarry in Abakaliki in their research “Pulmonary problem among quarry workers of stone crushing industrial site at Umuogharu, Ebonyi State” in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 201220. The work though useful did not provide the back ground to the industry which would have aided to an understanding of the remote and immediate causes of the research.

Akeredolu Ake, “Private Foreign Investment, Foundations of African Economy”. A study of investment and Growth in Nigeria, 1966.21 The work however focuses on the failure of British authorities in 1927 to take advantage of huge lime stone, shale/sedimentary and granite deposits in Nkalagu and Abakaliki to establish a cement and quarry company. The proposal was killed in the interest of Portland cement in Britain. The reports of Agu and Akinyemi “solid mineral in Nigeria” in Business Day Tuesday, April 4, 2004. Revealed the presence of shale/sedimentary and granite rock deposits that are yet to be fully exploited in a commercial quantity in Ebonyi, Benue, Abia and Taraba States22. This gives an insight to the presence of the above stated solid minerals in some parts of the country but failed to take particular cognizance of the quarry in (Onu-Ebonyi Izzi) Abakaliki where exploitation in commercial quantity started as far back as 1970.

The work of R.O. Ekundare, An Economic History of Nigeria 1860-196023, and P.E. Hair

Enugu: An Industrial and Urban Community in Eastern Nigeria. 1914-1953”, in the proceedings of 2nd Annual Conference of the West African Institute of Social an Economic Research., harped extensively on the economic benefits of the discovery of coal as a solid mineral in Enugu. According to them, the industry had general positive spread effects on the colonial economy. It offered employment to thousands of Nigerians every month, albeit on a very poor wages and

                                             

20  A.N. Nwibo and E.I. Ugwuja et al, “Pulmonary problems among Quarry workers of stone crushing industrial site at Umuoghuru, Ebonyi State Nigeria”. The International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: No.

3, 2012. 178-184. 21  Akeredolu-Ake “Private foreign investment in Foundations of African Economy” A study of investment and Growth in Nigeria, New York: Mc Graw Hills Ltd. 1966, 1-15.  

  • Agu and Akinyemi, “Solid Mineral in Nigeria”, in Business Day, Tuesday, April 4, 2004.20.
  • O. Ekundare, An Economic History of Nigeria 1860-1860, London: Methuem and Co. Ltd, 1972.183-304.

working conditions[17]. The work was totally silent on Abakaliki Quarry as records from National Archives Enugu25 indicated that the British Colonial authorities sourced large quantity of quarry products from Abakaliki juju hill shale/sedimentary and granite open excavation site. The quarry products were used for casting concrete barriers on rail lines, bridges and construction of underground run-ways for the evacuation of coal, and to some extent provided employment opportunities for the people during the period under focus.

What is more, a publication, “Ebonyi State Investment Potentials” by the Ebonyi State

Ministry of Commerce Industry and Technology Abakaliki 2005, “captured much of the Agricultural potentials of the state and only mentioned the quarry industry in a passing statement. [18] The report of Oscar Onwuemenyi “Federal Government insists on safer methods for Quarry Industry”27 in This Day Business by the Honourable Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Musa Sada was revealing. The report only highlighted the desire on the part of the Federal Government to introduce a tougher legislation for the industry. He limited the activities of the ministry on the quarry industries within the federal capital territory, without the inclusion of Abakaliki in Ebonyi State where the state House of Assembly have already put in place legislation on the activities of the quarry industries and in the environmental management.

Three Ebonyi State based newspapers, Ebonyi Patriot of April 12 2007[19], Ebonyi Voice of June 20, 200929 and The Citizens Advocate of October 17, 2009[20] in their various editorial columns titled, “The End of an Era marks the beginning of a new Era”, “Quarry as a business and “The Benefits of Quarry” highlighted various aspects of activities in the industry. The newspapers pointed out the federal and state government initiatives in the Quarry industry in Abakaliki. All the newspapers mentioned have been useful to the study.    

Ichie P.C Okonkwo’s presentation on “Environmental issues in Quarrying and Surface

Mining Operations: Definitions and Concept Clarification in the”. National Workshop on

Construction, Operations, Safety and Environmental Management, 2000 in the ECOWAS Secretariat Asokoro-Abuja was particular on environmental impacts of quarry. He noted that quarry operations disturb the following major aspects of the environmental namely: Landscape, soil, surface water and air. A situation of not being able to eat the cake and still have it exit between man and his environment. In recognition of the fact that the environment and health related issues facing our mines/quarries today pose significant challenges to its future development and growth, the need to set standards in the degree of disturbance to the environment has become imperative.

Apart from the environmental threat and hazards which result from quarry activities, managers of the enterprise also failed consider to take cognizance of soil degradation on the population. For example an attempt at relocation of the original inhabitants of Onuebonyi-Izzi from their ancestral homes which triggered massive population pressure on the existing land space and resulted in communal border clashes among the border communities of Ebonyi and

Cross-River States. It further led to the need to adjust the boundary between the two states.

Sources and Methods

 The work makes use of conventional way of writing history by using both primary and secondary sources which are juxtaposed, and the facts analyzed in both thematic and

chronological order.

Primary sources here, include, Archival materials obtained from the National Archives Enugu (NAE), Oral sources derived from interviews obtained from various informed and knowledgeable individuals. The Secondary sources include published and unpublished works like books, journals, workshops, government publications, magazines, newspapers, which centre on quarry industry in Abakaliki.

The study is organized under five chapters. The first chapter is the Introduction, which provides the back ground to the study. Chapter two examines the Economy of Abakaliki before 1970. Chapter three focuses on the Origin of the industry. Chapter four looks at the Consequences of the industry on Abakaliki. Chapter Five is the Summary and Conclusion.

[1] L.C. Amajor, “Stone Turbidite like Deposit. An  example from the Turanian Ezaku formation, at Nkalagu South Eastern Nigerian” Journal of Mining and Geology, Vol. 28, June 1989,2.

[2] Abakaliki, Wikipedia, Navigation, Encyclopedia World Gazetteer, http.//ww. world. Received April 3. 2001.  3  Ibid. 10. 4  M. Hogue, “Petrographic Differentiation of Tectonically controlled cretaceous sedimentary cycles, South Eastern Nigeria” Journal of Sedimentary Geology Vol. 17, August 1977, 25-27.

[3] Emeokoro Jonas C. 50, Solid Mineral Department, Ebonyi  State Ministry of Commerce and Industry oral data obtained at the state secretariat office complex off Golf course Road Abakaliki, 27/11/2012.

[4] G.I.C. Eluwa et al.  A History of Nigeria. Onitsha. Africana-Fep. Pub. Ltd. 1988, 99-200.

[5] Government of the Federation of Nigeria, Federal Ministry of Information, National Archives Enugu (NAE) AB: 345 Forced Labour ordinance 1933-45: Aidst 2/1/91A.

[6] G.I.C. Eluwa ……………… A History. 201

[7] The Geological survey of Nigeria Agency plot 360. Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent Wuse II Abuja – Nigeria, 2004.

[8] .

[9] Ogbuefi Ezennaka, C.65, Private Quarry Industry owner, oral data obtained 17/9/2012 at Umuoghara.  11 J.H. price, political Institutions of West Africa London, Hutchinson & Co. Pub. Ltd. 1973.193.

[10] Ministry of Aviation Handbook, Ministry of Aviation 1988.35.

[11] Vincent Anaeto, C. 43, Manager and Chief Executive phase II Extension Umuogharu quarry Abakaliki, 03/11/2012.

[12] Federal Republic of Nigeria, Nigeria Mineral and Mining Act, Federal Ministry of Mines, Abuja 2007, section 8082.

[13] Martina Ottawon, “Environment Degradation, Rising Poverty and Conflict, towards an explanation of the Niger Delta Crisis” Journal of sustainable Development in Africa, 9, No.4. 2007. 101-105.

[14] Alagu Ujebe, C. 40. State solid mineral representative; oral data obtained at Umuogharu quarry site main gate 27/10/2012.

[15] H. Myint, “The Economics of the Developing countries, London: Hutchinson University Library, 1973. 41-44.

[16] E. Vinokurov. A Theory of Enclaver, “What are Enclaves and Exclaves” Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2007.9.  19 H. Myint ……………. An Economics 45-48.

[17] P.E. Hair, “Enugu: An Industrial and Urban Community in Eastern Nigeria. 1914-11953” Lagos: March 1955, 155160.   25  National Archives Enugu (NAE) AB: 15B, Mines Department Correspondence 1930-1947: Ai(dist, 2/1/20).

[18] Ebonyi State Ministry of Commerce Industry and Technology Abakaliki, 2005, “Ebonyi State Investment potentials”  27  Oscar Onwuemenyi on This Day Business “Federal Government insist on safer methods for Quarry Industry” November 15, 2010, 17

[19] Tony Nwizi, The “End of an era marks the beginning of new Era” Ebonyi Patriot, May 20, 2007.1 Tony Nwizi, The “End of an era marks the beginning of new Era” Ebonyi Patriot, May 20, 2007.1 29 Eddy Oguda, Quarry as a Business” in Ebonyi Voice, 12th April, 2007. 1-2.

[20] Ichie, P.C. Okonkwo, “Environmental issues in Quarrying and Surface Mining Operations. Definitions and concept clarifications” National Workshop on Construction, Operations, Safety and Environmental Management, ECOWAS Secretariat Asokoro-Abuja 17th-19th April 2000, 1-3

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