Over the course of the last two months, 33 people have died in Plateau State as a result of mining sites that have collapsed in several towns.
This was revealed in an interview given by Pam Daniel, the secretary of the Plateau Indigenous Miners Association, Barkin Ladi LGA, on Sunday in Jos, during an event for artisanal miners and farmers that took place in the council area.
Daniel expressed concern over the regular collapse of mining sites in the Barkin Ladi settlements, adding that this condition posed a threat to people’s lives, particularly the lives of young people living in the council area.
In addition to pleading with the government to step in and stop the nasty trend, he called for increased public awareness of the issue.
The collapse of mining sites occasionally occurs in the Barkin Ladi settlements, according to Daniel, as mining has become an important source of income for the locals. In a Hwol Gassa settlement, a mining facility collapsed only a few weeks earlier in August.
“Seven persons were pulled out dead from the mining site while three persons were injured and taken to the hospital. We did not know how many persons were inside the mining site when it collapsed, a register was later opened in the community if there were any missing persons and a total of 33 persons were found to be missing. From that time till date, we have not seen those people because they were suspected to have been buried underneath the collapsed mining site. Because some of these things happen in rural communities, they are not reported but that is the situation we have found ourselves in.
The community leader said, “Due to mining, many youngsters in Barkin Ladi areas are no longer attending school. This is detrimental to the expansion and improvement of our civilization. And each year we learn that enormous sums of money have been budgeted for mining, but we artisanal miners don’t get any of it. We are requesting assistance from the government because of this. If they are unable to help us financially, they can help us by providing the equipment we need to reduce the risks associated with mining activities.
The goal of organising the stakeholder engagement, according to Daniel Mark, Team Lead for Plateau Youth Climate Justice and Accountability Initiative, and Opeyemi Osarumwense, Project Officer, was to identify the difficulties the mining community was facing and develop solutions.
The team leader stated, “As a company, we believe in advocating for solutions, and two of those solutions are climate justice and community-based sustainable mining methods. We want the attendees of this discussion to understand that mining does not simply end and the land is left to deteriorate without rehabilitation. Because mining destroys vegetation, tree planting regulations should be enforced to replace it. We are prepared to collaborate with the populace to protect lives are not only saved but that climate justice is done in the mining community.”
Edward Gyang Bot, the paramount monarch of Barkin Ladi, commended the non-governmental group for staging the occasion in his people’s best interests.
The paramount ruler said, “I think our people will be happy when the right thing is done in our mining communities, and the society will be better for it.”