NESREA Arrests Ring Of Foreign Miners, Water Contaminants In Osun, Start Investigation

Foreign miners whose activities have resulted in cross-border water pollution in parts of the Southwest have been monitored by the Nigerian Environmental Standards And Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA).

NESREA said the activities of these foreigners have endangered the country’s water resources, which supply the area’s residents with domestic water.

It also noted that farmlands have been destroyed with evidence of the destruction of cocoa plantations in the affected areas.

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Director General/CEO, Nigerian Environmental Standards And Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Prof. dr. Aliyu Jauro, said this in a media call in Abuja.

According to him, “The agency had stepped up its compliance monitoring of the affected areas, revealing a large presence of Chinese miners using excavators and related equipment to mine and wash the minerals along or near river courses.

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“There was also a high activity of artisanal miners collecting surface minerals in abandoned mine pits and washing them in nearby rivers, most of which flow into the Osun River.

“The river has become more murky with reddish discoloration due to the disruption of mining and the washout into the river.

“A full investigation has been launched and officials from the Southwest headquarters and zonal office have been in Osun State to collect water and soil samples taken for laboratory analysis to determine the level of pollution from these activities, which will provide information will provide our enforcement decisions to protect the lives of Nigerians affected by these activities.

Prof. dr. Jauro said NESREA would sue the guilty to appear in court after the full investigation is completed.

His words: “After the investigation, the provisions of the 2009 National Environmental Regulations (Mining and Processing of Coal, Ores and Industrial Minerals) and other environmental instruments will be invoked against those involved in unsustainable mining practices in the state.

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“This means that perpetrators’ facilities will be sealed and they will also be brought to justice for an environmental violation.

Indeed, the Osun River is known for its cultural, religious and economic significance and must be protected.

Jauro said 39 facilities across Nigeria have been sealed in recent weeks. He listed them with four facilities in Anambra and Borno states, while six facilities were each sealed in Plateau and Delta states.

He noted that the agency would sue three other facilities for preventing its officer from accessing their facilities in Anambra, Ondo and Delta state.

NESREA’s director general said the agency would also prosecute four other facilities that had broken its seal on their property to continue their violations of the law in Anambra state.

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