Dangbala: FG inaction behind activities of illegal miners, says group

Isaac Olamikan

A group under the aegis of Concern Indigenes of Dangbala (CID) in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State has said that the delay by the Federal Government and relevant stakeholders in allowing legitimate licence holders to commence mining activities at the Dangbala site is fueling illegal mining activities in the locality.

The convener of the group, Philip Adelabu, stated this in a statement released to newsmen in Benin.

He stressed that the call to allow legitimate licence holders to operate became necessary as part of the effort to ensure enduring peace in the community and also to curb the activities of illegal miners in the area.

While noting that residents of the community have been worried and inundated with calls from indigenes living outside Akoko-Edo on the recent happening in the community, the group urged the government to rise to the occasion and beam its searchlight on some security agencies who connive with the illegal miners to perpetuate their criminal activities.

They also demanded the immediate prosecution of those arrested and found to have been involved in the criminal exploitation of natural resources.

The statement reads in part: “to us, we want the government to allow those that have a licence and have been duly cleared to be allowed to take over their respective space in the Oketegbe mining site.

“Once they are allowed to go back and occupy their space, such move will check insecurity and ward off unscrupulous elements from having a field day like they are presently doing.

“Seriously, we are concerned with the fact that activities of illegal miners have heightened insecurity in the area which has instilled fear among our people.

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“Our fear has been further compounded with the denial that there is nothing like illegal mining even in the face of attacks on some of our people by these illegal miners.

“We do not know who to trust again because the security agency, National Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), that is saddled with the responsibility of protecting the site, have come out to deny this allegation against what we (residents) know to be happening.

“We are not unaware of the fact that some persons are benefiting from the activities of these miners and it is in our position to ensure that these people don’t use their selfish interest to jeopardise the peace in the community.

“It is against this background that we are appealing to the concerned authority to allow the legitimate licence holders to go back and occupy their respective allotted mining space in Oketegbe which will be advantageous to putting an end to the activity of these illegal miners,” he stated.

It would be recalled that the spokesman of the community, Mr. Collins Nicholas, had earlier raised an alarm of the return of illegal miners to the community months after the place was shut down by the State government over the security issue.

Nicholas had alleged that officers of the NSCDC are shielding these illegal miners.

according to him, the miners, who work both day and night, are able to carry out their illegal activities because they have the full protection of the NSCDC.

However, the allegation was denied by the spokesman of the NSCDC command in the State, Mr. Efosa Ugbebor, who said that the place was been guided by its officers since its closure.

“It is not true that our officers are providing cover for illegal miners in Dangbala. There is no mining activity in that area as we speak,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the Zonal Mining Officer (ZMO), Mr. Abdulkadiri Adamu, who was fingered on the return of illegal mining at the site, also denied being aware of the return of illegal miners to the area since it was shut down by the Edo State Government.

According to him, “Edo State Government placed an embargo on the activities of miners in the area and am not aware that they (miners) are back there.”

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