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FG inaction behind activities of illegal miners in Edo community ― Group

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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 at Dangbala site is fuelling is illegal mining activities in the community.

The convener of the group and Protem Chairman, Philip Adelabu, stated this in a statement released to newsmen in Benin on Tuesday.

He stressed that the call to allow legitimate licence holders to operate became necessary as part of the efforts 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 their people outside 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 connived with the illegal miners to perpetrate 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.

Part of the statement reads: “To us, we want the government to allow those that have licences 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, it will check the insecurity and ward off unscrupulous people from having a field day like they did when nothing was happening there.

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

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

“We really do not know who to trust again because a security agency (NSCDC) that is saddled with the responsibility has come out to deny this 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 to put an end to the activity of these illegal miners.”

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

Nicholas had alleged that officers of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were providing cover for the illegal miners.

Nicholas said the miners who worked both day and night, were able to carry out their illegal activities because they had the full protection of the men of the NSCDC.

However, the allegation was promptly denied by the spokesman of the NSCDC Command in the Edo 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. In fact, there is no mining activity in that area as we speak,” he had stated.

Meanwhile, the Zonal Mining Officer (ZMO), Mr Abdulkadiri Adamu, who was fingered in 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 Government.

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

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