Chad Says About 30 May Have Died In Illegal Gold Mine Collapse

Idriss Deby President of Chad, speaks at the 74th Session of the General Assembly at the United Nations headquarters in New York on September 25, 2019 in New York. TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP
Idriss Deby President of Chad, speaks at the 74th Session of the General Assembly at the United Nations headquarters in New York on September 25, 2019 in New York.
TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP

 

Many people were feared dead, possibly 30, after an illegal gold mine collapsed in northern Chad close to the Libyan border, officials said Thursday.

Defence Minister Mahamat Abali Salah told AFP the mine caved in early Tuesday in a zone beset by illicit mining and trafficking at Kouri Bougoudi in Tibesti province.

There were “many deaths, for sure,” Salah said.

“A mine collapsed. I cannot say exactly how many fatalities there are but there are many people working in these mines, so there must be many deaths, for sure,” Salah told AFP by phone.

An army officer who requested anonymity spoke of “around 30 deaths,” basing the figure on witness accounts with the army yet to arrive on the scene which is in a remote small town.

A local lawmaker spoke for his part of “a dozen deaths,” basing his tally on what witnesses had related to him.

“I cannot give you an exact tally as we rushed troops to the scene this morning,” said Salah, saying he expected a report later.

Tibesti, the province where the accident occurred, is largely lawless and home to numerous gangs and traffickers seeking to profit from a gold rush.

Clashes in January between Arab miners from Libya and miners from Chad’s Ouaddai community left “dozens” dead, according to security and mining sources.

Kouri Bougoudi has itself been the scene of clashes among rival ethnic, local and foreign groups since 2012 and 2013 after the discovery of gold deposits there.

The Chadian government has authorised mining companies to exploit the deposits but rights groups accuse authorities of using Arab fighters to orchestrate a takeover of the area.

In March, the Chadian government decided to set up a joint security force in Tibesti and declared the border with southern Libya — a major source of trafficking and a haven for Chadian rebels, but also the region’s main food supply — to be closed.

This move was followed in August by a decree by President Idriss Deby declaring a state of emergency in Tibesti and two other provinces.

 

AFP

NSCDC Arrests Two At Illegal Mine Site In Kwara

Mines-illegal-sand-minesThe Kwara State Command of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) on Tuesday arrested two people suspected to be involved in illegal mining of granite at a site in the state.

The State Commandant of the Corps, Awili Pedro, who led the operation, condemned the illegal activities which he said had been affecting Nigeria’s economy.

Illegal mining has been on the increase in Kwara State of late, a development that the NSCDC said it would have to bring under control.

Their first port of call and inspection was the Basin area in Ilorin where the Corps swooped on the people extracting sands from a river.

At the sight of the security operatives, the illegal miners ran into a nearby bush but left behind their working tools which were carried away by the Civil Defence Corps.

Economic Sabotage

From Ilorin, the capital of Kwara State, the team moved to Oyun Local Government Area and Aperun village in particular, where the convoy drove for nearly one hour in the forest before getting to the illegal granite site.

Again the workers on sighting the NSCDC operatives flee but they were pursued to a nearby bush where two of them were apprehended.

The nearby surrounding showed the cooking utensils being used by the illegal miners and the food sellers who were unobvious of the happenings, as the two men arrested were brought out from the bush.

Briefing reporters on the illegal activities of the miners, the NSCDC Commandant described the event as economic sabotage.

He wondered how people could use dynamite to illegally blow the granite without paying to relevant authorities.

Mr Pedro said the two persons arrested would be investigated and charged if found culpable.

One of the two suspects, who spoke in Hausa, said they were hired by one woman (Alhaja) from a nearby village and being paid 5,000 Naira daily.

Emirs Frown At Indiscriminate Tree Felling In Niger State

Niger State, Tree Felling, EmirsThe Niger State Council of Traditional Rulers has called on Nigerians to stop illegal mining and indiscriminate felling of trees in the state.

‎The emirs made the warning when the Niger State Commissioner for Environment, Mineral and Forestry Resources, Ali Mohammed‎, visited their palaces, as part of plans to sensitise the people on environmental degradation.

Speaking differently at the meeting on Monday in north-central Nigeria, they vowed that defaulters would be dealt with accordingly.

The Emir of Minna, Farouk Bahago, and his counterpart from Agaie Emirate, Yusuf Nuhu, said that stringent laws were needed to tackle illegal activities in the state.

The Emir of Minna who asked the people to desist from illegal activities, expressed readiness to support the policy to ensure strict adherence.

In his words, the Emir of Agaie stressed that there was an urgent need for illegal operators to stop cutting economic trees for charcoal.

“We have invited our villages and District Heads to monitor their areas, report any illegal mining and ‎tree felling to us. They should be made to face the law,” he insisted.

The monarch added that, the Council had declared its support for the review of the law at the Niger State House of Assembly.

“All of us (the royal fathers) have been yearning for this law to be reviewed. We have been waiting for the government to review the law, so that we can know how to control the illegality. We are ready,” he said.

The Emir pointed out that the illegal operators had lied that they got licence from the Ministry of Environment to fell trees, maintaining that it was not true.

Mr Mohammed had earlier decried the indiscriminate felling of trees and illegal mining going on in the state.

“We are revisiting areas of penalty in the forestry law, so as to make fines effective enough to serve as deterrent for further destruction,” he said.

The Commissioner explained that the State government had banned all form of commercial exploitation of the forest.

FG To Deploy 3,000 Civil Defence Officers To Curb Illegal Mining

Illegal MiningThe Federal Government has concluded arrangement to deploy 3, 000 personnel of Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) across the mining sites in the country to curb illegal mining operations.

The Kwara State Commandant of the NSCDC, Augustine Obiekwe, while inaugurating the 100 Personnel Unit of the state, gave the assurance that efforts would be made to safeguard the mining sites in the state.

He also urged the newly inaugurated Solid Minerals Defenders Unit to put in their best in the national assignment.

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Kayode Fayemi in a recent outing in Ilorin, announced that his ministry would collaborate with the Ministry of Interior to provide security around the mining sites in the country.

The action, he said is necessary to safeguard the solid minerals across the states from illegal miners.

While inaugurating the Special Unit, Mr Obiekwe said the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two ministries – Solid Minerals and Interior – informed the establishment of the unit. He charged the men to be dedicated in guiding the solid mineral sites in the state.

He also noted that the fight against unauthorized and unlicensed mining activities should be the responsibility of all.

The Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, represented by his Senior Special Assistant on Solid Minerals, Shehu Abdulrahman, explained that efforts are ongoing to register miners in the state to weed out illegal miners.

FG to create task force on crude oil theft

The Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshall Oluseyi Petinrin, on Friday said that the Federal Government has approved the constitution of a task force to curb crude oil theft in Nigeria.

The Air Marshall disclosed this while addressing journalists during a stakeholders’ meeting on security in the oil and gas industry in Lagos.

He said that the responsibility of the task force will be to halt the incessant oil theft in the country and that most senior army personnel and other security agencies would be included in the team to bring sanity.

“I quite agree with the collective decision of the stakeholders on ways to address oil theft in the country.

“All the security agencies will ensure adequate monitoring of the country’s oil thefts to logical conclusion,” Petinrin said.

Diezani Alison-Madueke, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, said that over 180 million barrels of crude oil were lost on daily basis in the country.

Translating the 180 million barrels into monetary terms the Managing Director of Shell, Mutiu Sunmonu had on Thursday during a meeting with the executive secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Zainab Ahmed in Abuja said Nigeria loses $5billion yearly to crude oil theft.

Mrs Allison-Madueke said the new task force would include both indigenous and international oil chiefs.

The minister said that it had been observed that in the last six months, the number of oil theft on Nigerian water was high.

“This crude oil theft affects both our environment and economic values in Nigeria,’’ she said.