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Anambra Moves Against Illegal Minings, Sand Excavations To Curb Environmental Hazards

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Anambra State Special Taskforce on Environmental Degradation has commenced its obligations of protecting the ecosystem from further decay and destruction emanating from human activities.

The Special Taskforce swung into action, following the invitation of members of Miners’ Association of Nigeria Anambra State Chapter to the state assembly complex Awka to obtain first hand information on locations of mining activities in the state as well as form a formidable force against all forms of environmental harzards resulting from illegal and authorized minings.

It would be recalled that a motion moved by Hon.Lawrence Chukwuwike Ezeudu of Dunukofia state constituency, calling on Governor Willie Obiano to issue an executive order prohibiting unauthorized excavation of latrite, stones and local sharp sand at the defunct Oba airport site Idemili-South local government area of Anambra state and also prosecute defaulters henceforth, prompted the state assembly to constitute a special taskforce committee on environmental degradation.

Ezeudu who is the chairman of the Special Taskforce On Environmental Degradation had said that the Committee will produce a roadmap on how the ecosystem in Anambra will be handled henceforth even though he frowned at illegal mining activities and sand excavation going on across the state, attributing such unwholesome activities to some of the remote causes of erosion devastations in the state.

Also the chairman state assembly committee on environment and member of the the special taskforce team Hon.Edward Obiefuna Ibuzo revealed that 70% of lands in Anambra state were being threatened by erosion menace, noting that erosion must be taken as serious as covid19 pandemic.

Ibuzo opined that setting up a special taskforce on environmental degradation was a bold step taken in the right direction because he believed that there was a dire need to protect the public from both natural and man-made ecological problems.

He also explained that there was need for the legislature and the executive to work in synergy to protect the environment, noting that inspite of warnings from the ministry of environment for people to stop illegal excavation at the defucnt Oba airport, it continued unabated.

The lawmaker also disclosed that at a place called Trans-Nkisi in Onitsha-North 2 state constituency, there were thousands of illegal miners mining stones from the area and the act , according to him has resulted in erosion devastations in Aroli street where he said erosion has destroyed about 10 houses already and that Onitsha currently has about 22 erosion sites.

It was against this background, that the Special Taskforce on Environmental Degradation had in audience members of the miners association from Anambra state.

Chairman of the Miners Association of Nigeria Anambra state chapter Chief Henry Igboeli told members of the Special Taskforce that the activities of imformal miners were detrimental and inimical to sustainable environment.

Igboeli explained that the association came to partner the Anambra State House of Assembly to frontally tackle the menace of imformal miners in the state even though he expressed worry that governnent preferred to deal with imformal miners.

The chairman of the state miners association who hails from Abagana in Njikoka local government area of Anambra state, noted that illegal mining activities and sand excavations have caused erosion devastations in the area. He said the visit to the state assembly was to present a partnership document to the legislators for the war against informal miners.

Furthermore,Acting Secretary of the miners association in Anambra Dr.Frank Oranuba said the only road that connects the 15 communites of Ogbaru local government area has been cut-off by erosion due to the devastating effects illegal mining activities in the area.

Oranuba explained that illegal miners do not have any collaboration with the state government even though he made mention that the association is recognized by the federal and state governments respectively. He said the association deemed it necessary to partner the state assembly to end environmental harzards resulting from informal minings.

The state miners’ association’s secretary who listed some of the locations of solid minerals and natural resources across Anambra state, informed that clay and caolin abound in Ozubulu, Ukpor, Ihiala, Ihembosi, Okija, Aguleri, Enugwu-Agidi, Omor as well as Ikem-Nando .

He said Pirite can be found in Onitsha and Nsugbe while Iron Stone is available at Nnewi, Ukpor, Umuchu, Nsugbe,Nkweleezunaka and Abo-Aguleri. Oranuba said Coal is largely available at Owerezukala while Bitunite can be found at Oba and Nnewi axis. Then Bentonite is available at Agu-Awka, Nteje, Nando, Abba and Enugwu-Agidi. He also mentioned that crude oil is available at Ogwu-Aniocha and Ogwu-Ikpele areas but expressed deep concern that some of the natural resources including crude oil were being siphoned at nights, thereby resulting to huge loss of internally generated revenue to illegal miners and pipeline vandals.

On his part, Chairman of the Special Taskforce on Environmental Degradation Hon.Lawrence Chukwuweike Ezeudu assured the association of roburst partnership, noting that the activities of illegal miners and sand excavators were serious threats to the environment.

Ezeudu said, ” our core function is about the environmental degradation going on in Anambra state. You might be doing legal mining and you are causing environmental degradation. Most of the erosion problems and other environmental harzards are caused by human activities like illegal mining, legal mining, land excavation, siting of petrol stations in residential areas including blockage of water ways. But we are trying to stop it by getting the culprits degrading our environment. That is one of the reasons we are partnering the state miners’association.”

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