We need strict safety measures to curb illegal mining – Senate to FG

Sharon EboesomiJune 6, 20245 min

A minute silence was held in honour of the victims who were buried alive during the tragic incident at an illegal mining site.

We need strict safety measures to curb illegal mining - Senate to FG

The Senate has called on the Federal Government to come out with strict safety measures and regulation on mining activities in Nigeria in line with international best practices and deploy adequate security apparatus to the mining communities in order to maintain vigilance around mining areas to prevent further incursions and intrusion by informal miners.

This was sequel to the adoption of a motion on the urgent need to address the incident of the rockslide that buried alive over 30 informal miners in a gold mining site in Farin Doki Community, Shiroro Local Government, Niger State,” during Thursday’s plenary.

The sponsor of the motion, Senator Sani Musa (APC, Niger East) disclosed  that on Monday, 3 June, 2024, a catastrophic rockslide occurred at the open-pit gold mine, which led to at least over 30 local/informal miners buried alive in the Farin Doki Community, near Erena in Shiroro Local Government, located within the Niger East Senatorial District of Niger State. 

According to him, “The miners, in their quests for gold and lithium minerals, met their untimely deaths, as the avalanche caved in, burying them under tons of rubbles.”

“This unfortunate and tragic incident underscored the urgent need for comprehensive and holistic action to be taken in order to formally address the dangers faced and posed by local mining activities taking place across the country.”

Senator Musa called for an urgent need to secure the mining site in order to forestall future occurrence, avoid further loss of life and ensure that mining activities are conducted safely and legally to prevent future tragedies.

The lawmaker expressed worry over the bodies of the deceased, who are yet to be recovered for proper and dignified burial by their respective families. 

“To this end, conscious efforts should be made by relevant agencies of government for the recovery of the bodies of the deceased for burial,” he said.

READ ALSO: Bodija Blast: Illegal mining undermine the economy, environment and now the safety of our communities  

He also commended the Minister of Solid Mineral, Dele Alake, for his swift and proactive response in monitoring the situation at the Mining site.

Supporting the motion, Senator Neda imasuen (LP, Edo South) lamented bitterly over the tragic incident. He appealed to the Federal Government to ensure that Nigerians are lifted from poverty in order to put an end to illegal mining.

What happened in shiroro demonstrates one of those consequences of illegal mining.

“We all know that there is hardship in the country, but our government must pay serious minds to our environment and communities.

“This also demonstrates the physical loss of lives of Nigerians who for whatever reason go into this business.

“There’s no reason why the government will not lift people out of poverty because we are endowed with several minerals,” he added.

On his part, Senator Abdul Ningi (PDP, Bauchi Central) traced the root cause of illegal mining to poverty despite the consequences.

He said, “These are scopes to ensure that the government particularly pays attention to the mining sector and if care is not taken, it will spread all over the county.

“Because of the hardship in the country, people get into mining without adequately knowing the repercussions.

“The right things must be done to minimise the issues of these incidents and the casualties that will come after it.”

Following the debate on the motion, the Deputy Senate President, Jibrin Barau called for a minute silence in honour of the victims.

The Senate thereafter,  urged the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other relevant agencies of government to expedite actions on the recovery of the remains of the deceased in the catastrophe to ensure that the bereaved families can have final closure.

It further mandated the Committee on Solid Mineral to conduct an on the spot assessment of the site to ascertain the remote and immediate cause of the rockslide and accelerate the passage of the Mine Ranger Bill currently before the Senate. 

Sharon Eboesomi

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