Adibe Emenyonu in Benin-city
A group under the aegis of Concern Indigenes of Dangbala (CID) in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State yesterday alleged that the delay by the federal government and relevant stakeholders to allow legitimate licence holders to commence mining at Dangbala site is responsible for illegal mining activities in the area.
Convener of the group and Chairman, Philip Adelabu, who stated this in a statement in Benin-city, stressed that the call to allow legitimate licence holders to operate became necessary as part of efforts to ensure enduring peace in the community as well as curb the activities of illegal miners in the area.
Adelabu, 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, urged the government to rise to the occasion and beam it’s searchlight on some security agencies who he alleged are conniving with the illegal miners to perpetrate their criminal activities.
The group also demanded the immediate prosecution of those arrested and found to have been involved in the criminal exploitation of the natural resources belonging to the community.
The statement read: “To us, we want the government to allow those that have licence and have been duly cleared 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 have been doing currently.
“Seriously, we are concern with the fact that activities of illegal miners have heightened insecurity in the area, which has instilled fears among our people.
“Our fear is further compounded with the denial that there is 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 the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) that is saddled with the responsibility to provide security 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 illegal 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 concern authority to allow the legitimate licence holders to go back and occupied their respective allotted mining space in Oketegbe mining site in in our community to put an end to the activity of these illegal miners.”
Meanwhile, the Zonal Mining Officer (ZMO), Mr. Abdulkadiri Adamu, who was fingered on the return of illegal mining at the site, also denied the knowledge 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 I am not aware that they (miners) are back there.”