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What We Saw In Illegal Miners Den –Taskforce Chair, Gen. Faransa

The Chairman of the Task force Committee on suspension of mining activities in Taraba state Brig. Gen. Jeremiah Aliyu Faransa (rtd) has revealed that Communities where illegal mining activities take place suffer land degradation, deforestation, poor living conditions and security threats with cases of out of school children. 

 

The Task force Committee chairman speaking on Rock FM in an exclusive interview in Jalingo said the state government has lost billions and valuable lands to unchecked illegal mining activities

 

Brig. Gen. Faransa (rtd) said after the committee was set up by the Governor, Dr. Agbu Kefas and issued the executive order No. 3 which is based on environmental protection, public safety and banning of mining activities in Taraba state, the Committee visited all the mining sites in the state and discovered the lands have been devastated, leaving the host communities helpless with no social services by the mining companies.



He said the committee first visited Arufu and Akwana villages in Wukari Local Government Area where they discovered the people have abandoned farming completely and joined the illegal mining activities with the help of the mining companies in Akwana

 

" These companies are supposed to provide what we call corporate social responsibility because of the land. They are supposed to provide small clinic, a police station, boreholes and other facilities. Infact, they supposed to even sponsor some of the children in those places to school from primary to higher education but from what I have seen, nothing was done. Infact, one of the companies said they were building police station for two years they have not completed it. It is sad and something drastic must be done about it", said Brig. Gen. Faransa.

 

According to him, the situation in other places visited such as Zaga in Bali LGA, and Mayo Sina in Nguroje ward of Sardauna LGA was not different.

 

" If you see the level of degradation of the land, that land cannot be useful again unless measures are being taken because based on what the companies are supposed to do, after excavations, the are supposed to fill up to 80% of the pits but I tell you, not even 1% is done," he said.

 

Brig. Gen. Faransa added that " these people are not been checked. They do whatever they want to do and after getting what they want, they leave. And I am telling you nobody questions them. But then, the spill over is very disastrous in the future and I have the believe that it is because His Excellency Dr Agbu Kefas has foreseen the dangers of these activities, that is why he set up this Committee".

 

The Chairman of the Tasks force Committee on mining raised concern that the situation was worst in other areas visited. He noted that the places have been turned to settlements where you see every caliber of people. Youths that abandoned schools to join the mining business, goods are being sold there, and young children that don't go to school. 

"These shows that we are just sitting down on a gun powder. It is indeed sympathetic and very sad. Our children have abandoned schools and they are into mining. What is the state government getting? What is the community getting? You cannot come into our state and destroy everything", he stressed.

While commending the proactive steps taken by Dr. Agbu Kefasto control the situation before it gets out of hand, Brig. Gen Faransa rtd said Taraba State is open to investors but that all miners must follow the due process to carry out their activities.

 

"One thing His Excellency is saying is that we are not stopping investors from coming to Taraba State, but please, follow the guidelines. When you come maybe through the Ministry of Mining, you submit your application that will be forwarded to the office of the Secretary to the Government of the state after that you will come and make presentation. You tell us what you will do to the community, what you will do to the state, and what royalties you will be paying to those traditional rulers where these mining activities are taking place. That's all what we need and you must follow due process", he said. 

 

Brig. Gen. Faransa rtd said some of the miners arrested on site at Mayo Sina in Nguroje ward of Sardauna LGA doing excavationsWhich was a flagrant violation of the Governor's executive order No 3 have been prosecuted in Jalingo.

 

He said the committee got about 12 bags of what is called 'blue Sapphire' totaling almost over Two billion naira from those that were arrested. He however expressed sadness that a small boy who was minor and supposed to be in school was caught off with the culprits. 

 

Commenting on the indiscriminate falling down of trees in the state, the Task force Committee chairman said " as of now, there is no Madrid in Taraba state. They have cut down all the Madrid you can think of and there was no replacement, they didn't replant them.

 

He urged Tarabans to support the administration of Dr. AgbuKefas to revamp the economy of the state to avoid total dependance on the federal allocation. "Time has come, enough is enough, no more business as usual. 

 

" We want to build a Taraba State we will be proud of. That is what this administration under the leadership of Dr. Agbu Kefaswants to achieve and I call on all of us to put our hands together to see what we can do. Ask what can I do for Taraba State and not what Taraba State can do for you", Faransa added.

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