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FG moves to tackle deadly gases from exposed coal seam in Anambra

…community says 15 people killed

By Gabriel Ewepu

ABUJA—THE Federal Government yesterday said officers from the Federal Ministry of Mines and Development have been dispatched to tackle deadly gases from exposed coal seam in Umuozu community, Otolo in Nnewi North Local Government Area of Anambra State.

This was made known by the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bwari, in a statement signed by the Personal Assistant on Media to the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, lshaku Kigbu.

This was as the community reported that 15 people have been killed by the deadly gases being emitted from the exposed coal seam.

Abubakar Bawa Bwari

Bwari said the dispatched officers from the ministry will visit the scene for preliminary inspection and to hold discussion with the affected community that would enable them carry out full scale investigation and how to stop the emission.

According to him, no mining activity goes on in the affected community and therefore, the pollution does not connect with mining operations.

“Coal deposits are known to contain several gases that are highly toxic and injurious to human health and environment. In this case, the deaths could be as a result of the coal releasing carbon dioxide and other gases that if inhaled, could cause harm to human beings.

“The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development’s attention was drawn to a gas emission from exposed coal seam in Umuozu community in Otolo, Nnewi North Local Government Area of Anambra State.

“We have dispatched a team of officers from the ministry to visit the scene for preliminary inspection and to hold discussion with the affected community. This is to ascertain the type of gas as well as proffer adequate solution so as to curb the situation.

“In order to ascertain the effect on the ecosystem, samples of the coal and water were taken from the affected community for further investigations.”

Meanwhile, the community reported that 15 people have been killed by the deadly gases being emitted from the exposed coal seam, which the Minister said was part of the report the ministry got.

“The team observed that as a result of gully erosion around the community some coal seams were exposed with some emitting gases that resulted in the death of 15 persons as reported by the community”, he stated.

The Minister further said that, “Intermittent fire flares from the exposed coal seams and this commenced around December 2017 according to what the community told the ministry’s team.

“Coal deposits are known to contain several gases that are highly toxic and injurious to human health and environment. In this case, the deaths could be as a result of the coal releasing carbon dioxide and other gases that if inhaled could cause harm to human beings”, he said.

In this light, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development has ordered further investigation on the effect of this on humans and the environment.

 

 


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