The Enugu State government has announced a ban on illegal mining in the state with immediate effect.
The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Chidiebere Onyia, announced the ban on Friday in Enugu while presiding over the inauguration of a committee tasked with assessing mining operations in the state.
Onyia issued a stern warning, cautioning that severe repercussions await any unlawful miner who defies the government's instructions.
“Government observed that it is in the overriding interest of the public to protect the people from any hazard or pollution, and also maintain equal rights of benefits accruable from any mineral resources to Enugu people.”
According to him, the ban followed Gov. Peter Mbah’s directive on the report of the discovery of mineral resources in some communities and the mining of the resources without the government’s authorisation.
The committee is headed by the commissioner for environment, Sam Ugwu.
Members are the attorney-general and commissioner for justice, Kingsley Udeh; special adviser to the governor on energy and resources, Kingsley Nnaji; special adviser to the governor on legal matters, Osinachi Nnajieze, and chief security officer, Government House, Alex Akinlalu.
Other members include the senior special assistant to the governor on security, Onyeator Vincent; senior special assistant to the governor on mainstream media, Dan Nwomeh; senior special assistant to the governor on external relations, Uche Chukwu, and special assistant to the governor on revenue, Sandra George.
The SSG said their mandates included identifying illegal mining sites, stopping all illegal mining, reviewing all environment assessment documents for all legal mining companies and reassessment and revalidation of all mining companies in the state.