By Ozioruva Aliu, Benin-City
There is anxiety in the Akoko-Edo local government area of Edo state as hundreds of persons suspected to be Illegal miners are flocking into Ikpeshi and neighbouring communities of Atte and others to embark on illegal mining especially gold which is believed to be much in the area after these same persons were flushed out of Dagbala because of their activities that was becoming a security threat.
Many of these people are not from Edo state and Vanguard gathered that they are into this illegal mining with connivance from some officials of the Ministry of Mines and Solid Minerals.
A member of the community who identified himself as Osharo Joseph told Vanguard that “The people we know and normally see here are people who are into limestone but recently we are seeing people who are into gold mining and they are in an area near the bridge and we don’t know them only for us to discover that some are the same people that were recently sent packing from Dagbala because of their illegal activities, we don’t know them but they way they go about this mining, we suspect some people in government are behind them” he said.
But a security aide to Governor Godwin Obaseki, Haruna Yusuf, yesterday said the state governor would not seat and watch illegal miners driven from Dagbala return to any other part of the state.
He said; “My attention was drawn to it on Monday. We have chased away all people from Dagbala gold sites and our eagle eye security men are on the lookout. I was just told about Ikpeshi and we are going to take necessary actions”.
On his part, the Zonal Mines Officer, South/South, and federal Mines Officer in charge of Edo state, Abudulkadir Usman Adamu, denied any involvement of his ministry with the activities of the alleged illegal miners but advised those interested in mining to follow laid down procedures.
He said “You are just giving me new information now. You see, the issue of illegal mining is not something you sit down and curtail but what we tell people is that as soon as you get your license mobilize to the site. We have always ensured that the right thing is done. How can I be conniving with illegal miners? But I am always on the field to ensure that the right thing is done and the right people are the ones mining”
Recalled that some licensed solid mineral prospectors had in March raised an alarm over the activities of illegal miners and called on the ministry to halt their activities.