Seven people suspected to be illegal miners died while several others were injured when a section of a mining site collapsed in Jos, Plateau State last weekend.Relatives of the victims were said to be reluctant to report the accident to law enforcement agencies for fear of being arrested, due to regular occurrence of such incident in mining sites across the state.
The incident occurred at Waduruk village in Jos South local council.A source close to the village told journalists yesterday that three of the victims were members of the same family who had been in the mining business for more than two decades, adding that the other four were hired from the neighbouring village to help them in excavations.
“There were seven of them inside the pit digging the soil in search of solid mineral when the earth layer above caved in and buried all of them,” said the source.The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Assistant Superintendent Tyopev Mathias Terna said yesterday that the command has not been briefed of the incident.
Meanwhile, about 313 mining companies have been sanctioned by the Federal Government over non-fulfillment of environmental obligations.The Director, Mines Environmental Compliance Department, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Salim Salaam, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Abuja.
Salam said the mining operators were issued sanction letters on March 20 for failing to conduct Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Environmental Protection and Rehabilitation Programme (EPRP) and the Community Development Agreement (CDA).
He said four of the companies affected were given `stop work’ order, adding that the ministry had warned them severally but they refused to comply with the environmental obligations.
He added that the licenses of five companies were revoked over failure to comply with the ministry’s environmental obligations in spite of several notices issued by the ministry.
“One out of the five companies is a foreign mining company located in Bauchi, three in Cross River and one in Oyo State. All their licenses were revoked completely. However, 20 companies were issued warning letters to comply with the mining act to avoid revocation,” he said.
Source: The Guardian