September 23, (THEWILL) – The Edo State Government has assured stakeholders in the solid minerals sector of the economy that it would lift the ban on gold mining in the Dagbala Community, Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of the state.
The Commissioner for Mining and Energy, Engr. Ethan Uzamere, gave the assurance during the inspection of buildings for security personnel in the community, as part of efforts to improve security in the area.
Uzamere recalled that the state government had placed a ban on gold mining in the Dagbala community due to the influx of terrorists, which posed threats to the safety of lives and property of residents in the community.
The Commissioner also said mining in the community was restricted to ensure necessary security infrastructure was put in place before the reopening of the sites.
“It is unfortunate that what should bring a lot of development to the community has instead brought a lot of problems in terms of security. The community has several roles to play in sustaining security because they live here and have more intelligence than anybody. They know who is not from the community when they see them in the area.
“Basically, we’re here to inspect the buildings that were donated to security operatives and visit some of the mining sites. We are very satisfied and impressed with the buildings donated. This shows how the mining industry is important to this community as they were fully donated by both the community and the miners’ association in Dagbala.
“We will now give back our findings on what we are going to do regarding the mining sites.”
“The state has its own security network. I know the community has its own vigilante. Everybody has to work together to ensure the safety of the people at the mining sites and the community itself”, Uzamere noted.
Earlier in his address, the Okaku 1 of the Dagbala community, His Royal Highness Albert Agbebaku Okogbe, lauded the state government’s commitment to lifting the embargo on mining, which he said is a major concern to the community.
“Anybody that is not concerned about the reopening of all the mining sites in Dagbala community is an enemy of progress. We shall work in synergy with all security apparatus to ameliorate illegal mining and influx of bandits to achieve peace and progress.”
Representative of licenced miners in the community, Shaba Stephen, said, “the removal of illegal miners has been done by the community and the legitimate miners. The community is now void of the crowd perpetrating illegal mining.
“We have also provided buildings for the various security agencies for offices and residences and have entered an agreement with the community that anybody who is not a licenced miner will be immediately reported to the appropriate agency.”
The Deputy Commandant, Edo State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Akinluko Richard, also speaking, said “we are here to protect government critical infrastructure. We cannot continue to fold our hands while the government continues to lose resources. We’re prepared to make sure that the sector is safe as we will guard it with all our strength.”