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Enugu mining communities lament frequent violation of environment, health threat

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Mining communities in Enugu State have expressed concerns over the frequent violation of their environmental safety and disregard for their health by coal miners operating in their areas.

The communities, while lamenting that their sources of drinking water and livelihoods have been contaminated by mining activities, appealed to the Enugu State Government to intervene by ensuring that the mining consent obtained by companies engaged in mining conform to global best practices to save them from pollution and other health hazards.

The communities made this appealed, through their traditional rulers and presidents-general, at a press conference held on Tuesday in Enugu, stressing that the decision to withdraw all consent was as a result of the failure of some of the companies living below expectations and destroying their vegetation and farmlands through environmental degradation.

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They also accused mining companies of “brazen disregard for the environmental safety of our people whose sources of water and farming have been polluted from the source.”

“Following a series of deliberations, we have unanimously agreed that we need to review the mining consent obtained by mining companies from our communities that have not lived up to expectations.

“Some of them were fraught with illegality. This is in addition with brazen disregard for the environmental safety of our people whose sources of water and farming have been polluted from the source,” the statement reads in part.

Speaking on behalf of all the mining communities in the state, the traditional ruler of Nsude autonomous community in Udi local government, Igwe George Ejikeme Onoh, called on individuals and organisations interested in mining to reach out to the government through the Secretary of the State Government to verify that they have the consent of communities which complied with ethical, environmental and professional measures that guarantees the safety of their host communities.

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“As a result of this, we would like to take this occasion to extend an invitation to all individuals/organizations interested in the mining sector to communicate with the State Government through the Secretary to the State Government as soon as possible in order to verify that they have received all necessary community consent to operate, follow the ethical, environmental and professional measures that guarantee the safety of their host communities, subject to the federal government cadastre certificates,” the statement added.

It further noted that the “decision takes immediate effect upon this information.”

Those that signed the statement include, Igwe John E. Ugwu of Ezimo autonomous community, Mbah Cyril Eze, president-general of Ezimo town union in Udenu LGA, Engr. Chibuzor Ngene, president-general of Akwuke town union, Enugu South council area, Obiesie Walter Onyeka, president-general of Awha Imezi, Ezeagu council area, Eze Chinedu, Nsude president-general, Igwe Ozor Paulinus, traditional ruler of Awha Imezi autonomous community, Ezeagu local government area, among others.

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