AKWA IBOM- Nigeria-wide cases of unauthorized foreign firms secretly extracting valuable resources and indiscriminately destroying surrounding habitat continue unabated as locals, not only have to deal with the rape of land and resources but also are shockingly confronted with a posture of arrogant trespassing foreigners boldy invading their vicinities with traumatic sights of gun wielding Nigerian security guards acting as shield and backup
Over the years Akwa Ibom has been one of the few Nigerian states at the forefront of cracking down on illegal foreign miners. The State Government recently ordered the closure of a Chinese company allegedly carrying out illegal mining activities in the state.
The State Commissioner for Environment and Mineral Resources, Chief Uno Etim Uno, and his Ministry of Internal Security counterpart, Brigadier General Koko Essien (retd) had on Monday discovered illegal mining activities in Ibeno Local Government Area of the state, when they stormed the operational base of a Chinese-owned mining company, Ruitai Mining Company, in Esuk Ikim Akeme community, Ibeno where illegal mining activities were taking place.
The join inspection team which was conducted round the mining site by the Chairman of Ibeno LGA, High Chief Williams Mkpa discovered black clay-like minerals contained in sack bags of 50kg, and described by the miners as Titanium
Consequently, the team ordered that the company should terminate its mining operations forthwith, until due clearance legitimising its operations is completed with the state government.
The company’s management were asked to approach the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources(MEMR) on or before Friday, 1st September, 2023 with all the relevant papers authorising its operations, with full coordination of the area approved for its mining operations.
All security operatives, within the company’s premises, should be withdrawn from the mining site, while the Divisional Police Officer, Ibeno, Superintendent Victor Ezekwu, should enforce the directive in order to ensure strict compliance.
Ruitai Mining Company, is said to be purely an exploration company which Board of Directors comprises only Chinese, thus, not eligible to acquire the Small-scale Mining Licence as claimed.
Other anomalies discovered by the team showed that the Company has not conducted the Environmental Impacts Assessment ( EIA) in its mining operations, just as it has not submitted the Environmental Management Plan (EMP), among others.
As Nigeria’s land and resources gets pillaged by foreigners who’s boldness seem to point to collusion from government officials, observers are questioning if the laws of the land needs overhaul with possible consideration for the capital punishment, if at all that would effectively serve as a deterrent to what many class as treasonous act against the state and common wealth of the citizenry
IMAGE: India Narrative