…it constitutes environmental degradation – Ebonyi Environment Commissioner
By Peter Okutu, Abakaliki
EBONYI State Government, the weekend, began the closure of illegal mining pits/sites as five suspected illegal miners were said to have been arrested so far in the State.
The State Commissioner for Environment, Grant and Donor Agencies, Dr Richard Nnabu who took Journalists and security agents to few mining sites noted that the closure became necessary because the development was already constituting serious environmental degradation in the communities affected.
The Commissioner supervised the closure of an illegal mining pit of over 1000 feet above earth level in Amajim, Ameka, Ezza South Local Government Area of the state.
The Commissioner had last month warned local miners to place the life of the local’s side by side with their illegal mining activities and see which one should be accorded greater priority.
The sites, found in the Community Primary School and the Amajim, Ameka Market posed a serious environmental challenge as they were symbols of death traps for the people of the area.
In a chat with Newsmen, the Commissioner who commended Governor Umahi for ensuring that the illegal pits were closed against all odds stated that the exercise was borne out of complaints by locals and the need to ensure the safety of members of the affected communities.
“We are closing the pit because it constitutes a serious environmental degradation to our people. You can see this place is Primary School, and you can see the market. This is a terrible development and the Government wants to keep providing protection and security for the people.”
The Commissioner who stated that some suspected illegal miners were now at large stressed that those who want to carry out Mining business in the state must go through the laid down processes before they can be granted licenses to operate.