Following the continuous clampdown on illegal mining activities in the state, the Enugu State government has reiterated its unwavering commitment towards supporting genuine investment activities through the provision of investment enablers for ease of doing business such as adequate security infrastructure, attractive tax regime and road projects.
While disclosing this, weekend, shortly after the State Executive Council Meeting, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Dr. Kingsley Udeh, said the state had resolved to establish the Environmental Remediation Trust Fund (ERTF) and the State Security Trust Fund (SSTF) where miners legally sanctioned by the government with genuine licenses would contribute an agreed sum of money into the fund for remediation projects that will help to safeguard the environment, ensure that health hazards resulting from the mining activities are mitigated and also enable adequate security of lives and property.
The commissioner, who chided illegal miners for destroying the environment and contaminating people’s sources of living, said the state will stop at nothing in ensuring that all illegal mining sites were shut down and culprits brought to book for their crimes, as their activities contravened the provisions of the state laws.
He further accused them of environmental, economic and security sabotage against the people of the state, adding that those with the desire to invest in mining activities should approach both the federal and the state governments for proper licensing, certification and compliance processes.
“The illegal mining activities are causing huge environmental damage. A lot of our people are exposed to risks associated with water pollution and some of the channels of water now contain carcinogenic elements that are cancerous and exposing our people to ill-health,” he said.
According to him, the state decided to come up with measures, such as the establishment of the ERTF, the SSTF and other collaborative initiatives after receiving the reports of independent assessment on the activities of legal miners, which posed severe threats to the environment and health of the citizens, to cushion the effects of the challenges and to also call the legal or genuine miners to their corporate social responsibilities.
“These legal miners will have to participate in human capital development so that they do not just come and mine in these localities, but also discharge their corporate social responsibility. This will be in the form of collaboration with the state on the establishment of Vocational Training Schools, to train our people to acquire technical skills and develop capacity to work in area of mining and other engineering related works,” the AG added.
Dr. Udeh, while highlighting the revenue generation efforts of the state and its commitment to achieve a zero percent in the poverty headcount, while moving the state economy from $4.4 billion to $30 billion, noted that the miners would have to pay taxes for their truck haulage of tons of coal on the state road, as the deadweight of their trucks damage the roads, stressing that it would help the state to continue to maintain roads and make them accessible for the citizens.
The AG also added that the SSTF would be used to maintain and provide additional security infrastructure for the safety of the investors, miners and the whole Enugu people.
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