• Short Summary

    Life in the eastern region of Nigeria is gradually returning to normal after the disastrous civil war ...

  • Description

    Life in the eastern region of Nigeria is gradually returning to normal after the disastrous civil war ... but the worst affected areas of breakaway Biafra the situation is far from settled. Owerri, the major city in the rebel state shows the halt of development and the damage caused by the war. There is only one major road running through the centre of the city. Along it are humped a few shanty "hotels", a market place which has very little to offer, and hundreds of homeless people.

    Enugu to the West, and barely touched by the war, represents a different picture and way of life. There's a well stocked market place, modern hotels and hundreds of motorcars. Most of the people in the town have a job in local industry, a house and money in the bank. In contrast there are very few jobs to be had in Owerri. Thousands of people drifted into the town at the end of the war. They were seeking shelter and the chance to work. But with the exception of the local market place, there's no place offering employment.

    Money has become a great problem in Owerri. Recently the Nigerian Government said it would not exchange currency issued by the Biafran regime, but would pay 20 pounds (sterling) to all people who registered money with the Central Bank. The allotment wouldn't alter with the amount of the money put in the bank, and as a result many Biafrans who were well off before the war now find themselves bankrupt.

    But life is gradually returning to normal in Owerri. The Red Cross has announced that its relief operations would be gradually phased out over the next few months. It's observers say that the people of Biafra are now capable of building their own lives.... though it will take some time before Owerri is back to its pre-war life.

    SYNOPSIS: Life in Enugu, Nigeria is virtually back to normal after the disastrous civil war. The town now shows a normal pattern of life....cars fill the streets and the people throng the streets.

    The war had little effect on Enugu. Despite the widespread destruction and loss of crops, the market place is still well stocked. However, the only money which is accepted in the market is Federal currency, notes put out by breakaway Biafra are not legal tender..... For most of the people this is no hindrance because Biafran influence wasn't felt this far north. The market offers a wide variety of foodstuffs and clothing.

    Prices aren't high. This fact has enabled the Government to impose a law that only one Nigerian pound (just over one pound sterling) may be changed into coins at the bank. This will keep the monetary system on an even level.

    But Owerri, in former Biafra represents a different picture. The streets are virtually deserted and there are few cars or any other means of transport. The town suffered heavily in the war and normal life came to a standstill. Even now, months after an end to fighting, the town is still in a state of uncertainty. The market stands on a sea of mud. Prices are high and there's very little on sale.

    Owerri gives a grim picture. At the end of fighting, thousands of people flocked into the town seeking shelter and food. The Red Cross helped all it could, but it was some time before the town could be considered on a stable footing. Empty houses and an unfinished church bear grim testimony to Biafra's fight for independence....a fight which failed tragically.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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