Ben Ezechime, Enugu
The Enugu State Government has raised the alarm over the extent of illegal mining activities and its damage to the state’s environment.
The Commissioner of Environment and Climate Change, Prof. Sam Ugwu, said this while undertaken environmental assessment of alleged illegal mining sites in the state.
Ugwu, who doubles as the Chairman of the Committee on Review of Mining Activities in Enugu State, while on enforcement sealed the sites of alleged illegal mining activities at Nsude and Akwuke communities, both in Udi and Enugu South Local Government Areas, respectively.
The commissioner, in company of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Kingsley Nnaji, and other experts from the ministry, informed that, the illegal deforestation, diversion of water bodies and degradation of hundreds of hectares of land by the miners could trigger ecological disaster if nothing was done to prevent further unregulated mining activities in the state.
He said: “It is unfortunate that this kind of damage is going on in Enugu State without the approval of the Government.
“It is very very sad. The government is not happy about it, and we will continue this way till we close all the mining sites in Enugu State. It has caused a lot of ecological damage.”
Ugwu said that It would take the state many years to recover from the humongous damage to the environment, adding that the state government was worried about what was going on hence “we are sealing them.”
“These criminal acts are unacceptable. There will be no more activities here.
“We will be monitoring them morning and evening and ensure the places we have sealed are not tampered with,” the commissioner said.
Ugwu, however, advised Miners with genuine licenses, approvals and other evidence of compliance with standard practice to come forward for verification
He further called on genuine investors who are willing to invest in the energy and minerals sector of the state economy to approach the State through the laid down process.
The commissioner further maintained that the government was interested in making the state attractive for investors.