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Mining: Enugu State Govt. begins sealing of illegal mining sites

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Mining: Enugu State Govt. begins sealing of illegal mining sites

 

Enugu State Government on Monday, said it had begun sealing of illegal mining sites and those without environmental impact certifications and mitigation plans in the state.

Prof. Sam Ugwu, the Chairman, Enugu State Committee on Mining Activities, stated this when the committee visited a site, owned by Milhouse Ltd. in Awhum, Udi Local Government Area.

Gov. Peter Mbah had in June, banned illegal mining in the state and also set up the Enugu State Committee on Mining Activities on Sept. 15 to checkmate the menace.

Addressing newsmen after a firsthand inspection of mining activities at the site, Ugwu who is the state Commissioner for Environment and Climate Change, said there were more various infringements ranging from environmental degradation to blasting without approval and due regulations.

According to him, the miners are suspected to be involved in non-remittance of staff tax and pension contributions to the state government in spite of deducting them from the staff.

He said that the government would not fold its hands and watch the environment destroyed and lives endangered.

“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 environmental degradation going on.

“We equally want to see the veracity of the licence, which they claim they have and to find out how they have been remitting their environmental fees to Enugu State Government.

“Importantly, 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.

He added that, “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.

 

“Enugu powered the industries of Europe and beyond at some point through this same coal. Today, our environment is still bearing the scars and brunt of those mining activities. So, we will not fold our hands and watch that happen all over again.”

He faulted the claim by the operators of the site that they started mining activities in 2022, saying “from all indications, this site has been in operation for more than five years”.

He stressed that the government was very much aware of other mining sites in different parts of the state operating illegally and without licence or running foul of environmental protection laws and regulations, assuring that government would go after them.

The commissioner also served a notice on African Pits and Quarries Ltd to stop operations immediately and report to the Government House on Sept. 21.

“Sequel to the directive of the Governor of Enugu State banning illegal mining activities in the state, you are hereby warned to desist and stop all mining activities in this environment.

“Your failure to comply strictly as directed may lead to your arrest and prosecution in the state Environmental Protection Court,” Ugwu said.

He also ordered them as a matter of urgency, to furnish the office with comprehensive list including approval licence from the Nigeria Mining Cadastral Office and evidence of notification letter to Enugu State Ministry of Environment before commencement of operations, among others.

Meanwhile, the General Manager in charge of Operations at the site, Akintola Oluwafemi, while assuring that the company would comply with government directives, said the firm obtained all necessary licences from the Federal Government.

Oluwafemi added that they were mindful of environment in their operations.

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Unknown Gunmen Abduct Channelstv Reporter In Port-harcourt

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Some unknown gunmen have kidnapped Joshua Rogers, the ChannelsTV reporter in Port-Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

Politics Nigeria learnt that Rogers was picked up close to his residence at Rumuosi in Port Harcourt and to an unknown destination by the gunmen around 9pm on Thursday, April 11.

The reporter was driving his official ChannelsTV branded car when the hoodlums accosted, pointed a gun at him and took him away in the same vehicle.

 

Rogers was said to be returning from his official assignment in Government House after a trip to Andoni for a government event when the incident happened.

Already, the gunmen were said to have contacted his wife and demanded a N30million ransom for bis release.

His cameraman confirmed the incident and appealed to his abductors to set him free unconditionally.

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Lassa Fever Kills 150 In Nigeria — NCDC

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According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), 150 people died from Lassa virus in 125 local government areas throughout 27 states in the federation between January and March 2024.

The NCDC reported that the deaths were recorded with a case fatality rate (CFR) of 18.6% overall from week one to week thirteen, 2024. This is higher than the CFR for the same time in 2023 (17.5%).

In its Lassa Fever Situation Report Epi Week 13, which was released on March 25–31, 2024, the agency revealed that 806 of the 5,295 suspected cases that were recorded were confirmed. Eyes Of Lagos reports,

According to the report, in week 13, the number of new confirmed cases decreased from 25 in Epi week 12, 2024 to 15. These cases were reported in Ondo, Bauchi, Plateau and Edo states.

 

In total for 2024, 27 states have recorded at least one confirmed case across 125 LGAs, even as 62 percent of all confirmed Lassa fever cases were reported from Ondo, Edo, and Bauchi states, while 38 percent of cases were reported from 24 states with confirmed Lassa fever cases.

Of the 62 percent confirmed cases, the NCDC said Ondo reported 24 percent, Edo 22 percent, and Bauchi 16 percent. The predominant age group affected is 31-40 years (Range: 1 to 98 years, Median Age: 32years), with a male-to-female ratio for confirmed cases of 1:1.

From the report, the number of suspected cases (5,295) increased compared to that reported for the same period in 2023 (4,338).

The agency confirmed that the National Lassa fever multi-partner, multi-sectoral Incident Management System has been activated to coordinate response at all levels at the Emergency Operations Centre, EOC.

No new healthcare worker was affected in the reporting week 13, the report noted.

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