ILLEGAL GOLD MINERS IN EDO STATE

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There is tension in Dangbala as various groups compete for illegal mining of gold deposit. Unauthorised mining activities in Dangbala, Akoko Edo Local Government in Edo State continue to peak as non-state groups struggle over the unregulated gold mining sites. And this has continued to fuel the rising threat within and around the area.

Edo State government and federal government must move to disincentivise artisanal mining by the local population. Arguably, the human capital deficits in Dangbala and Uneme Eruru, Akoko- Edo and lack of effective government presence in mining areas are push-factors to the cut-throat engagement of the local population in a quest for sustenance and survival. Adequate government regulations will, to a large extent, address the losses to illegal mining. Part of the revenue accruing from regulated mining should be used to drive development in the area. If the federal government can maximise revenue from mining activities, it can fund developmental projects that will improve the living condition of the people. Without a government-led and community-centred approach, illegal mining and conflicts in Nigeria’s unofficial theatre of war will continue to reinforce each other and pose numerous existential crisis in the region.

Government must act on the current state of the gold supply chains in Akoko Edo notably by mapping the actors involved (in production, trade and export) in both the private sector (formal and informal) and the public sector. This article covers industrial production as well as artisanal and small-scale mining and identifies the different risks associated with the gold sectors in Akoko Edo.

There is danger looming in Akoko Edo, Local Government; the suspension of illegal mining in Zamfara and other states in the North West is having a multiplier effect here in Edo State, as we observed serious influx of illegal Northern miners into the state.

This is indeed a signal of impeding serious security breach in the state. Before now, we have raised serious concern about the volatility of Dangbala land, where there are illegal mining sites. This recent development would definitely worsen the situation.

My investigation further revealed that there are over 5000 illegal miners from the North, in over three villages and towns in Akoko Edo, including: Dangbala and Uneme Eruru, among others. While illegal mining in the state is not new, the influx of new entrants, including the Chinese and illegal miners from the north, has increased dangerous mining activities capable of endangering the environment. Their activities are aided by local chiefs and the police who capitalise on regulatory failures.

Inwalomhe Donald, Dangbala, Akoko Edo, Edo State