By Chukwuemeka Okechukwu
Enugu State over the years, could be said to be one of the few states in Nigeria that enjoy a good measure of security of lives and property. The state is also lauded for her high level of cleanliness and aesthetics. However, the events of the #endsarsprotest across Nigeria which trailed the Tuesday 20th October, 2020 shooting at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos State, threw many parts of the country into confusion. The protest which was marked to be a peaceful march in most states of the country, suddenly paved way for the activities of hoodlums and other youths who never meant well for the masses.
In what seemed to be a long period of unrest, some miscreants in Enugu, the coal city, seized the opportunity of the seeming unrest across the country to perpetuate their nefarious acts and unleash mayhem on private and public properties. The once peaceful procession to end police brutality across Nigeria, was hijacked by hoodlums in Enugu metropolis especially from Wednesday, 21st October, 2020. Enugu, the Coal City, that was once calm and conducive, suddenly became rowdy, dirty and unsafe. All thanks to the miscreants who took to the streets, vandalised public and private properties while looting the much they could even in broad day light. Many feared that the state has been taken over by the hoodlums and that normalcy would be far-fetched.
It took the courage and doggedness of Enugu Youths to take the bold step of restoring the glories of the state. The address by the executive governor of the state, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and the encouraging words of other well-meaning individuals of the state, reawakened the zeal in the Enugu Youths not to give up their streets to hoodlums and thugs. This made it that the announcement by Very Rev. Fr. Michael Ogbu, the coordinator, Enugu Clean Team Project (ECTP), through the mass and social media on Friday, 23rd October, 2020, was heartily welcomed by many volunteers, majority of whom are Enugu Youths. Fr. Ogbu had announced the massive clean-up exercise which eventually happened on Saturday, 24th October, 2020. The supervisors and fieldworkers of the Enugu Clean Team Project (ECTP) were to be at the forefront of the intensive sanitation exercise across the state.
It was a fruitful call since the youths of Enugu State led by the ECTP, and assisted by numerous volunteer Enugu youths, turned out en masse to clean up the streets of Enugu. The exercise covered all the areas in Enugu and Nsukka metropolis, once more restoring the sanitary and aesthetic face of the youths. Fr. Ogbu and other persons who organised and supervised the exercise, found no suitable words to express their sentiments to the youths who against all odds, turned out to restore the glories of the state to the utter disappointment of the hoodlums and miscreants. He also encouraged the youths to embrace civility and peace which Enugu State has been known for.
It has been a very trying time for the residents of Enugu State, but it is believed that with the sanitation and cleaning up of the state and the willingness of the teeming Enugu youths to cooperate with the state government, sanity and peace will be gradually restored in the state. It is truly a bold step in the right direction.
Okechukwu Chukwuemeka is a seasoned teacher and educationist and he reports from Enugu.