Ebonyi begins closure of illegal mining sites
By Ruth Oginyi
The government of Ebonyi State has closed two large mining pits located in a School in Amajim, Amaeka, Ezza South Local Government Area of the State.
About five persons were also arrested for mining inside the Primary School premises and market grounds.
The State’s Commissioner for Environment, Dr. Richard Nnabo closed down the mining pits on Saturday.
The Commissioner said the suspects did not obtain a license before starting the mining in the School premises and the market square since 2017, pointing out that such illegal activities expose residents of the area, especially children to grave danger.
“What is happening here is environmental degradation and it is in my jurisdiction to address everything that concerns the environment. What you are seeing here is illegal mining activity that is taking place inside a Primary School and this is a Primary School I attended.
“Some persons in the village decided to do illegal mining because they feel they can get solid minerals. There is a procedure for doing the mining. You must get a license before you go into mining. Of cause, you cannot mine in school because children are in the school and anybody that is mining in a primary school like this is exposing the school children and villagers to dangers of ill health.
“As you can see, the next pit you are seeing there is in the market. As they are mining, every person that attends market there and the school children are also exposed to dangers of ill health.
“Because these people are doing illegal mining, they don’t know what is called protective devices they should use to protect themselves, and even if they use protective devices, these pits are open and these schoolchildren are liable to fall into these open pits.
“We saw what happened in the state over a month ago where the state APC youth Leader was driving along the road and fall into an open pit which led to his death and his two police escorts. That’s how we lost promising young men, men that could have contributed more to develop the state. So, for this, we decided to be going round to close all the pits in the state”, he said.