- Illegal miners litter Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Osun, Kaduna, Niger and most Nigerian states clandestinely
- Illegal miners collude with gun wielding shadowy security men to intimidate helpless Nigerian villagers
- Illegal miners inflict destruction on the environment
- Allegedly the criminal miners are mostly foreigners from China, Asia and the Arab world
Illegal mining has become a big challenge for the government of Enugu State. The criminal activity has been going on in the state for quite awhile and the government is now stepping up measures to put an end to the environment threatening act
The State Commissioner for Environment and Climate Change, Prof. Sam Ugwu, has been on the frontline of making sure that the ugly situation becomes a thing of the past. While visiting some of the illegal mining sites, he lamented bitterly and warned everyone involved to desist from it as it is a serious threat to the environment.
Prof. Ugwu, who is also the Chairman of the Committee on Review of Mining Activities in Enugu State, stated this on Monday, while carrying out an oversight on environmental assessment and enforcement of the state government’s directive. The illegal mining sites located at Nsude and Akwuke communities, in Udi and Enugu South LGA’s, respectively, will be sealed, Prof. Ugwu stated
The commissioner, who was also accompanied by the special adviser to the State’s government on energy and mineral Resources, Mr. Kingsley Nnaji, said “ the illegal deforestation, diversion of water bodies and degradation of hundreds of hectares of land by the miners could trigger ecological disaster if nothing was done to prevent further unregulated mining activities in the state”
He went further to say “It is unfortunate that this kind of damage is going on in Enugu State without the approval of the Enugu State Government.
“It is very sad. The government is not happy about it, and we will continue this way till we close all the mining sites in Enugu State. It has caused a lot of ecological damage.
“It will take many years for Enugu State to recover from this humongous damage to our environment.
“We are really worried about what is going on, and we are sealing them. These criminal acts are unacceptable. There will be no more activities here. We will be monitoring them morning and evening and ensure the places we have sealed are not tampered with.”
However, prof. Ugwu while serving letters of invitation to the miners, advised those with authentic licensees and approval to pay an official visit to the office, for discussions and proper briefing
He equally called on any investor with genuine intention for mineral extraction to come to the government house as the door is always open to receive them, as the State is open for investment.
Nevertheless, residents and some indigenes of the affected communities have continued to protest against what they called ‘unwarranted intimidation and harassment’. They said that the illegal miners have been threatening, harassing and intimidating them with illegal security operatives. They pleaded with the state government to help them put a stop to the constant dehumanization they are been subjected to.
An environmental expert in the State, Engr Amara Victor said the mining activities poses a serious danger to the residents and even the environment. He advised the government to take an urgent step to addres the issue in order to avert what he called ‘time bomb”
At the mining sites at Nsude and Akwuke were a number of heavy-duty trucks, excavators, caterpillars, coal-loaded trailers, among other machinery used for the illegal mining activities.