Illegal mining activities are increasingly becoming a source of employment and income in many communities, but these activities are also attracting bandits and criminal minded individuals raising government concerns.
Miners in Edo state have condemned the decision of the federal government and have called on the authorities to rescind the move, while urging them to overhaul its security architecture.
For example, in Dangbala Community in Akoko Edo Local Government Area of Edo State, like every other community in the locality, it is pastoral, with the dwellers practicing subsistence farming for survival.
The community, from time immemorial, has been sitting on a goldmine. Unknown to them, underneath the earth where they and their progenitors have been farming for decades, there are precious stones. The community boast of precious stones and other mineral resources that are capable of turning the fortune of the rustic village around for good.
Despite the fact that gold was discovered in the community, palpable poverty remains the lot of the inhabitants. Prior to the Edo state government ban owing to the activities of illegal miners, millions of naira is hauled out of the town by the invading illegal mineral miners, who, in recent times, have invaded the place like an army of locusts.
The discovery is the beginning of the problem in the once peaceful community as other miners, illegal and semi-legal, invaded the space.
A miner and core investor in Edo state, and the Managing Director, Macana Nigeria Limited, Mustapher Fawaz, while speaking on development in the sector, is of the opinion that if the federal government goes ahead with its plan to shut down mining activity on account of pervading insecurity, it would be counter-productive.
He posited, “As we all know, there is a lot of illegal mining going on, not just in Edo state. For you to say you want to ban mining in totality because of illegal mining or security issues, you must put into consideration the economic consequences. If you look at the mining sector, it is intertwined with the economy; it penetrates every sector of the economy.