By Tony Edike
ENUGU—The cur rent influx of illegal immigrants into Enugu, the state capital is causing panic among the residents who have called on security agencies to monitor the development to avert any insurgency in the area.
The two major settlements for northerners in the state capital known as the New Artisan Market located along Enugu-Port-Harcourt Expressway off Independence Layout and the Garriki cattle
Market in Awkunanaw, have been besieged lately by hundreds of young men alleged to have come from Niger, Sudan and Chad Republic.
Among them were some Northerners displaced from their homes in Borno, Yobe, Taraba and Adamawa states by Boko Haram terrorists.
Sources at the New Artisan market told Vanguard that the market popularly known for the sale of livestock like cow and goats brought down to the East from the north, had been turned to a settlement for the illegal immigrants many of who had no sources of livelihood.
According to a source who preferred anonymity, the young men most of who could neither speak nor understand English language, have continued to arrive the market from the northern states since Boko Haram intensified its violence in some northern states early this year.
Said the source who claims to be a cattle dealer, “What we are seeing here on daily basis calls for serious concern because if any crisis erupts here those of us from the north who had been living in Enugu and doing out legitimate businesses will be liable. Since January this year several trailers conveying livestock and crops from the north had been bringing several young men especially from the North Eastern states.
“Most of the young men are from Niger and Chad and they don’t speak English or Hausa and their mission here is not clear but we have been habouring them because they are Muslims and they join us to worship in the mosque here. But that notwithstanding we are worried because if anything funny happens here our families will be affected.”
He disclosed that their leaders had been working with some security operatives to monitor the activities of the immigrants most of who engage in daily pay jobs but “we are not comfortable with the large number of unknown persons flooding the market daily.”
Vanguard observed that though members of the Army/Police joint patrol team station their vehicles at the market at night, the security men are usually not interested in knowing the identity of several young men hanging around the market.
The same scenario was observed at Garriki cattle market but the number of immigrants sighted were far less than those loitering around the New Artisan Market.
However, some residents of the state capital who spoke on the development, called on the security agencies to increase their surveillance on the affected markets to forestall any security breach in the capital city.
When contacted, the State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Ebere Amaraizu said that the police command was not aware of any security threat by illegal immigrants as there was no official report from any quarter.
“We don’t have any official report about the presence of such illegal immigrants and their activities in the state but I can assure you that there are adequate security measures in place to ensure that the state remains safe for the residents.”
It would be recalled that some bandits suspected to be Fulani herdsmen and citizens of Niger had been nabbed for armed robbery along some major highways in the state.
Last week a businessman identified as Theophilus Eneje was reportedly killed by herdsmen along Ibeagwa/Ezimo Road in Udenu local government area of the state during a robbery operation while another person was also attacked by herdsmen along the Ebeano Tunnel in the early hours of the day while returning from night duty. He was wounded and currently receiving treatment at the Park Lane Teaching Hospital, Enugu.
The police confirmed both attacks which it said were being investigated.