A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

Plateau govt orders NSCDC to shoot at sight on illegal miners

*Illegal mining activity.

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

09 February, 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – In the wake of the violence among some illegal miners, which led to the death of about 10 people, the Plateau State government has reportedly given an immediate order to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to shoot at sight illegal miners at Lamido dam in the state.

The NSCDC personnel will be stationed around the dam to ensure that the illegal miners do not have access to the area.

Government officials say the order is coming following the drowning of an illegal miner on Monday.

The death of the illegal miner came barely a month after the NSCDC arrested four suspects for illegal mining in the dam.

The dam area became a beehive for tin miners sometime around 2013 following the discovery of tin while the construction of the road that leads to the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) was on.

The Plateau State Commissioner for Water Resources and Energy, Engr. Jafaru Wuyep said someone drowned at the dam on Monday night when he tried to swim across to avoid arrest by security agents.

The deceased whose corpse is yet to be evacuated had drowned in the middle of the dam and efforts by security agents to rescue him failed.

Also speaking, the acting General Manager of the Water Board, Lambert Gonzuk, explained that the activities of illegal miners were impacting negatively on the quality of the water and the structures of the dam, and all activities around the dam had been prohibited.

Just recently, ten people were killed following a clash between illegal miners at Gyero village of Gyel District in Jos South local government area of Plateau State.

Yesterday, the Plateau Commissioner for Environment and Solid Minerals Development, Mr Abdullahi Abbas, has said that illegal mining was posing “a massive” threat to food security in Plateau.

Abbas disclosed this in Jos, after a closed-door meeting held with traditional heads in the state.

According to him, most lands have been converted to mining fields by illegal miners.

“If left unchecked, in the next 10 years, people will have no lands to grow crops.

“This act is very worrisome. It has lots of ills associated with it but the threat to food security is one we cannot play with.

“In the next 10 years, there will be no land to grow crops and we may have to resort to going to other states to lease lands to grow our crops,” the commissioner lamented.

He said that other consequences included an increase in the number of school dropouts and an increase in the consumption of illicit drinks and drugs in a bid to mobilise strength for the act of mining.

The commissioner added that loss of revenue to the state government was also a consequence as the miners were unlicensed.

He said that his meeting with the traditional heads was to sensitise them on the ills of their youths engaging in the act of illegal mining and to rub minds with them on the way forward.

“We expect these leaders to sensitise their various communities and encourage those who wanted to be miners to go about it rightfully, by obtaining a license.”

He pointed out that solid minerals on a piece of land did not belong to the land owner but to the Federal and state governments.

The commissioner said that anyone, who wanted to mine, had to obtain a mining license and pay a royalty to the federal and the state governments.

“Mining is a legal business; anybody who is interested in it should approach the appropriate authorities for a license instead of doing it illegally.

“Illegal mining constitutes uncontrollable environmental hazards and we must guard against it,” he said.

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