The Government in Enugu State, South-East Nigeria has commenced a crackdown on illegal miners with the sealing of some sites on Monday.
Commissioner for Environment and Climate Change, Professor Sam Ugwu, who doubles as Chairman of the Enugu State Committee on Mining Activities, led other members to storm a mining site in Awhum, Udi Local Government Area.
Professor Ugwu told Journalists after a firsthand inspection of activities at an alleged illegal mining site, that the Governor Peter Mbah administration had in June 2023 banned illegal mining activities across the State due to their environmental damages and economic sabotage on the State.
He pointed out what he described as various infringements on the laws of the State by the operators of the site which ranged from environmental degradation to blasting without approval and due regulations, as well as the non-remittance of staff tax to the State Government, despite deducting same from the staff, among others.
The Commissioner says government was very much aware of other mining sites in different parts of the state operating illegally and without license or running foul of environmental protection laws and regulations, assuring that “government is coming after all of them”.
But, the General Manager in charge of operations at the mine site, Akintola Oluwafemi, denied any wrong doing by his firm, assuring it would resolve issues with the Enugu State government.
Other top government officials on the Enugu State Committee on Mining Activities include Special Adviser to the Governor on Energy and Mineral Resources, Kingsley Nnaji; Special Adviser on Political Matters, Frank Anioma; and Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on External Relations.
The Committee insists that enforcement of Governor Mbah’s directives on illegal mining in the State will continue.
(Editor: Terverr Tyav)