The people of Dangbala community in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State, and authorities of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, (NSCDC) have disagreed on the alleged return of illegal gold miners to the community to continue with their nefarious activities.
Residents of the community had on Thursday at a media chat in Benin, accused NSCDC officials of providing security cover for the illegal gold miners even after the state government had placed embargo on the mining site earlier in the year.
Spokesman of the community, Collins Nicholas, said the miners who worked both day and night, were able to carry out their illegal activities because they have the full protection of the security outfit.
Recall that residents of the community had on Tuesday cried out over the resumption of operations by the illegal gold miners in the area.
The residents, under the aegis of Concerned Residents of Dangbala, raised the alarm in a statement by Godwin Amusa and Agbaje Saiki, Convener and Secretary respectively.
They noted that it had become imperative to go public on the issue in order to avoid the Zamfara State situation.
They said not only have the increased competition created tension in the community, but that their activities have become an issue of security threat in the area.
In the same vein, Nicholas appealed to the concerned authority to check activities of these illegal miners before it woukd snowball into what Zamfara State is presently experiencing.
He said provoked by the action of the NSCDC, some youths who attempted to stop the illegal miners, were mercilessly beaten and injured.
According to Nicholas, “On the 13th of August, the same illegal miners arrested by Civil Defence were released.
“At a meeting held in the community, we were shocked to see them jubilating that Civil Defence has declared Dangbala bush open; and as I speak, all kinds of people are working there freely without the approval of Edo State government.
“When the kindred that owns the place went to find out what was happening, they were attacked and the matter is pending at Igarra Area Command. We have written several petitions on this.
However, in its reaction, the State Command of the NSCDC denied any mining activity in the community. Eghosa Ugbebor, spokesman of the command, insisted the site had not been opened since its closure by the state government.
According to Ugbebor, the place was still being guided by NSCDC officials 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.
“Few days ago, precisely on Tuesday, the Command sent anti-vandal and solid mineral team of the NSCDC to the area but they found nothing happening there.
“To clear any doubt, we have asked the community people to immediately report to our office should they see anything of such. Perhaps, they can provide any evidence if they have any, for us to act on,” he stated.
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