Home Business Stakeholders in Ebonyi urge stringent action against illegal mining

Stakeholders in Ebonyi urge stringent action against illegal mining

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ABAKALIKI – A group known as Host Mining Community Network in Ebonyi State has called on the relevant authorities in the country to put stringent measures in place to check illegal mining.

The state Coordinator of the group, Dr Kelechi Okezie, made the call on Wednesday in Abakaliki at the group’s consultative forum.

Okezie noted that illegal mining was on the increase in the state, thereby constituting a health hazard for the people and the environment.

“Ebonyi is endowed with many solid minerals and people who undertake the mining process do so uncontrollably, thereby violating existing mining regulations and ethics.

“This endangers the health of workers at those sites as they are exposed to respiratory infections while some excavated sites are not covered after mining.

“Some children fell into one of the uncovered pits sometime ago and all these made the network to seek ways of checking the trend to protect peoples’ lives.”

Okezie noted that the most disturbing aspect was that women and children were exposed as they constitute over 80 per cent of workers in the illegal mining sites.

“These are mostly under-age children who are out of school or orphans who have no one to cater for them.

“The women are mostly widows who fend for their families; they and the vulnerable girl-workers are exposed to diseases such as HIV/AIDS.

“They could contract the disease from mine workers and articulated vehicle drivers who convey the minerals to various destinations.” [eap_ad_1] Also speaking, Mrs Chika Echefu, a representative of mining communities in the network, called on the government to supervise all mining sites in the state, to ensure that best practices were maintained.

“Security agencies and officials of the mining ministry should be deployed to these sites to check illegal activities of miners while approved ones should operate within stipulated operational standards,” he said.

A traditional ruler who spoke on condition of anonymity, advised that mining communities should boost efforts to check illegal mining in their domains.

“Opinion leaders in these communities should give adequate enlightenment to them on the need to desist from illegal mining due to inherent dangers it posed to them,” he said.

Solid minerals such as lead, granite, zinc and limestone among others, abound in Ebonyi. (NAN)

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