Enugu State government has sealed more illegal coal mining sites in Udi,Enugu north and Udenu local government areas, respectively, lamenting that land owners were paid N30,000 per trailer load of coal by the illegal miners.
Commissioner for Environment and Climate Change,Prof. Sam Ugwu, disclosed this to newsmen when he led a delegation of the mining committee to some illegal mining sites at Ugwu Onyeama, Agu-Abor , Udi local government area, Iva Pottery, Camp 1, Iva Valley, in Enugu North local government area and Obollo-Etiti in Udenu local government area, where the state government sealed the illegal sites.
He said that the State Government was worried about the activities of illegal miners in the state, who operated with out following due process and had caused serious damages to the environment.
“We are aware of what they pay to the community,N30,000 per trailer load of coal and nothing to the Government.
” We are experiencing poverty in this country. The cash they pay means nothing . See environmental degregation, the water contamination. The people collect the money out of ignorance of the damages the illegal miners caused to their environment,” Prof. Ugwu said.
On the action the Government haad taken, Professor Ugwu said:
” The Government has sealed these. Places We are going to keep people to monitor the sites and ensure no activity takes place there. No action will go on here. We have a new Government that will take care. We have plans of taking over . They have relaxed the law. Individuals who want to go into mining should come through the Government. The state government should know what they are doing. They should follow the due process”, Prof. Ugwu said.
Sites sealed are Chimezie mines, Aka ajaja, mines in Ugwuonyeama, Agu-Abor,
Oshienyi river site in Umuochigide, Obollo-Etiti in Udenu local government area as well as Moses Energy Ltd, Onitsha Umuosigide site.in Obollo-Etiti . Moses Energy Ltd was on coal exploration. The company had Exploration licence but is yet to obtain other relevant papers from the state government.
The Commissioner urged the people affected to come to the state government , follow due process and be guided.
Author: Maureen Ikpeama