From Tony Osauzo, Benin
Hundreds of illegal miners ordered to vacate gold and other solid minerals sites in Dagbala community have reportedly relocated to Ikpeshi, Atte and other communities in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State to continue their illegal mining activities, thus raising tension in the affected communities.
It was learnt that miners have found a way of conniving with officials of the Federal Ministry of Mines to sustain their illegal businesses unchallenged.
Reacting to the development, Haruna Yusuf a security aide to Governor Godwin Obaseki, said the governor would not sit and watch illegal miners driven from Dagbala return to any other part of the state to continue their illegitimate acts.
“We have chased away all people from Dagbala gold sites and our security men are on the lookout. We want peace and security in Edo State. I was just told about Ikpeshi and we are going to take necessary actions,” he said.
Meanwhile, Zonal Mines Officer, South-South and Federal Mines Officer in charge of Edo State, Abudulkadir Usman Adamu, have denied any involvement of his ministry with illegal miners. He advised interested miners seeking to obtain licence to discuss with communities before embarking on mining exercises.
“I don’t know what to say when people make such allegations. It is my duty to go round every day and I move around. I am not supposed to be in the office. Even now what we are strategising is to go back to Edo North because that is the most pronounced area in terms of mineral.”
On activities of illegal miners in Ikpeshi, Adamu said: “The issue of illegal mining is not something you sit down and curtail. What we tell people is that as soon as you get your licence, mobilise to site.”
Licenced solid mineral prospectors had in March raised the alarm over activities of illegal miners and called on the ministry to check illegal mining.