A group under the aegis of Concern Indigenes of Dangbala (CID) in Akoko-Edo local government area of Edo State, said the delay by the federal government and relevant stakeholders in allowing legitimate licence holders to commence mining at Dangbala site is fuelling illegal mining activities in the locality.
The convener of the group, Philip Adelabu, stated this in a statement released to newsmen in Benin, yesterday.
He stressed that the call to allow legitimate licence holders to operate became necessary as part of effort to ensure enduring peace in the community and also to curb the activities of illegal miners in the area.
The group urged the government to rise to the occasion and beam its searchlight on some security agencies that connive with the illegal miners to perpetrate criminal activities.
It also demanded for the immediate prosecution of those arrested and found to have been involved in the criminal exploitation of the natural resources.
Nicholas had alleged that officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were providing cover for the illegal miners.
He said the miners who work both in the day and night, are able to carry out their illegal activities because they have the full protection of the NSCDC.
However, the allegation was promptly denied by the spokesman of the NSCDC command in the state, Mr Efosa Ugbebor, who said that the place was being guided by its officers since its closure.
“It is not true that our officers are providing cover for illegal miners in Dangbala. In fact, there is no mining activity in that area as we speak,” he had stated.
Meanwhile, the zonal mining officer (ZMO), Mr Abdulkadiri Adamu, who was fingered on the return of illegal mining at the site, also denied being aware of the return of illegal miners to the area since it was shut down by the state government.
According to him, “Edo State government placed embargo on the activities of miners in the area and am not aware that they (miners) are back there.”