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Taraba Gov Signs Executive Order Suspending Mining Activities

The governor stressed that the unregulated extraction of minerals had led to deforestation, soil erosion, water pollution, jeopardising agricultural activities, and loss of biodiversity.


FILE PHOTO: Governor of Agbu Kefas of Taraba State at the signing of the Executive Order No. 3 on Friday, June 23, 2023.

 

Taraba State Governor Agbu Kefas has signed Executive Order No. 3 suspending all mining activities in the state.

The action, according to the governor, became necessary given the danger it poses to the ecosystem, leading to the exploitation of vulnerable communities and increased crime rate, contributing to social unrest, and affecting the revenue generation of the state. 

Describing illegal mining as a cancer that had eaten deep into the fabric of the state, the governor stressed that the unregulated extraction of minerals had led to deforestation, soil erosion, water pollution, jeopardising agricultural activities, and loss of biodiversity. 

He empowered law enforcement agencies to go after anyone found violating the order. 

“It is with a heavy heart that I announce the need for immediate action to curb the rampant mining and illegal activities that have been wreaking havoc on our environment, our communities, and our economy.

“As the Governor of Taraba State, it is my solemn duty to protect the well-being of our citizens and preserve the precious resources that nature has bestowed upon us.

“Our state is blessed with abundant mineral wealth, but this blessing should not come at the cost of our environment and the livelihoods of our people,” he said.

“Over the years, we have witnessed a surge in mining activities, both legal and illegal, which has caused significant damage to our ecosystems. The unregulated extraction of minerals has led to deforestation, soil erosion, water pollution and loss of biodiversity.”

According to him, the state’s rivers have become contaminated, affecting the health of its people and jeopardising agricultural activities. 

“Illegal mining, in particular, has become a cancer eating away at the very fabric of our society. It has led to the exploitation of our vulnerable communities, increased crime rates, and contributed to social unrest,” he said.

“The revenue that should have been channelled into public welfare and infrastructure development has been siphoned away, leaving our people in dire need. 

“Therefore in the best interest of our state and its future generations, I am signing this executive order for the immediate suspension of all illegal mining and illegal mining activities in Taraba state.”

Kefas stated that the decision was taken lightly, adding that it was a necessary step to preserve the environment and ensure sustainable development.

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“This executive order will serve as a strong message to those who have been engaging in illegal mining activities and we will no longer tolerate the wanton destruction of our natural resources and the exploitation of our people,” he said.

“Law enforcement agencies will be empowered to take strict action against anyone found in violation of this order and we will work hand in hand with relevant stakeholders to endure a smooth transition and explore alternative livelihood options for those affected.

“I am aware that this decision will have short-term economic implications, but it is essential for the long-term prosperity and well-being of our state as we will not abandon our commitment to economic growth, but it must be achieved through sustainable means.

“We will encourage responsible mining practices and adhere to stringent environmental regulations and prioritise the welfare of our communities.”

The governor further urged the Federal Government and development partners to support the state government’s efforts in restoring the damage caused by years of unchecked mining activities.’

Governor Kefas added that the state government needed the assistance of the Federal government in implementing a comprehensive reforestation programme, providing alternative employment opportunities, and strengthening its capacity for effective regulation and monitoring. 

“I stand here today as the Governor of Taraba State, committed to protecting our environment, preserving our resources, and ensuring the well-being of our people,” he said.

“The suspension of mining and illegal activities is a critical step towards achieving these objectives, together, let us embark on this sustainable development and build a brighter future for Taraba State.”