Taraba Illegal Mining : Billions Stolen without Citizens benefitting – Faransa

Emmanuel Awari-Jalingo

The Chairman, Task Force on Illegal Mining and Deforestation, General Jeremiah Aliyu Faransa (Rtd), has said that most of the profits gained by illegal miners in the state are not of benefit to host communities.

He disclose this during in an interactive session with Journalists in Jalingo.

“The miners are expected to provide the host communities with amenities such as, Schools, Hospitals, Water and others, but none of them have done it.

“Billions of Naira is been taking out of the state by illegal mining companies and the state government and host communities are not benefitting.

“We have seen what mining activities have caused our land in Taraba State. I am afraid of what happened in Ogoni land and the illegal mining activities in Zamfara state, all those areas have no peace.

“We are not stopping Investors to Taraba State, but you must follow due process. You must obtain legal documents, if not no business as usual.

He said that the activities of illegal miners have caused irreversible damage to the state.

According to him, Miners operating in Taraba were more like criminals out to destroy the state’s mineral resources.

“What we have seen in the field is terrifying. For instance, Miners have excavated Akwana on both sides so that if there are any security threats, the people will be at extreme risk because there is no escape route. We have to correct this trend because those miners are not from here and have no issue destroying the land just to get what they want and leave.

“The situation is similar to that of the Ogoni Land, which is destroyed, and the Zamfara, where mining activities have created insecurity at an unbearable level.

He said that the right thing should be done or the battle line is drawn.

“We are not stopping investors in any sector, but due process must be followed to ensure environmental protection and people’s safety.

“You are supposed to refill the land for up to 80% after excavation, but this is not followed. Community development is also not done, contrary to the set guidelines.

“This is our state. What is the state benefiting from these activities? Billions have been taken out of the state with nothing accruing to the state.

“This must stop. We must make sure that things are done right; otherwise, it won’t be business as usual.

“Most of the children who are supposed to be in school are turned miners because they offer cheap labour. The risk is that we are unconsciously grooming criminals, as we have seen in other parts of the country.

He pointed out that Taraba State is the home of solid mineral resources.

“There is nothing you are looking for that you cannot find in Taraba. In fact, most homes are sitting on huge treasures.

He use the medium to denied allegations that the committee stole some of the items they recovered from the Miners.

“As a committee, we didn’t take even a pin. We didn’t even see gold.

“In Mayo Seni, the company continued with their activities, despite the order from the state government. We caught the company still excavating. So we arrested them and recovered over 32, 000kg of Blue Sapphire.

He disclose that more than a hundred illegal miners have been arrested and prosecuted.

“The prisons are filled, so we only take the ring leaders and foreigners to send to Court – he said.

He decried high rate of cutting of woods popularly known as Madrid by foreigners in collaboration with indigens of the state.

“Those trees have been existing for many years, but have cut down without planting another ones to replace them and even if planted, it will take years to be put to use.

“If we don’t stop those things now, our state would become a desert and we will have desert encroachment just like other states like Zamfara state amongst others – he added.

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