The Government of Enugu State, Yesterday, commenced checking the activities of miners in the state with the sealing of illegal mining sites and sites without environmental impact certifications and mitigation plans.
It would be recalled that Governor Peter Mbah administration had in June shunned illegal mining activities in the state and also set up the Enugu State Committee on Mining Activities last week to checkmate the menace
The Committee, which was led by Prof. Sam Ugwu, its Chairman and Commissioner for Environment and Climate Change, stormed a mining site in Awhum, Udi Local Government Area, owned by Milhouse Energy Services Ltd.
Addressing Journalist after a firsthand inspection of mining activities at the site where various infringements ranging from environmental degradation to blasting without approval and due regulations, non-remittance of staff tax to the state government despite deducting same from the staff as well as non-remittance of pension contributions to the pension scheme despite deducting same from the staff, among others, were suspected Prof. Ugwu said the government would not fold its hands and watch the environment destroyed and lives engendered.
“Our mission is basically to seal, on behalf of the state government, mining activities that do not have any recourse to the state government. We are also here to look at what is going on and you have all seen a lot of z degradation going on.
“We equally want to see the veracity of the license, which they claim they have and to find out how they have been remitting their environmental fees to the Enugu State Government.
“Importantly, I want to find out the mitigating plans they have in place. We are very much interested in what happens to these host communities and their environs many years after these miners have closed shop because if you take a look at the Niger Delta, the people are still suffering greatly from environmental degradation caused by oil exploration activities of many decades ago.