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Senate wants investigation into death of 30 miners in Niger

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The Senate has mandated the Committee on Solid Minerals to investigate the cause of a rockslide in Farin Doki community, Shiroro Local Government of Niger.

The rockslide buried 30 informal miners alive in a gold mining site.

This followed the adoption of a motion at plenary on Thursday in Abuja on an “urgent need to address incident of the rockslide.”

The motion was sponsored by Sen. Mohammed Sani (APC-Niger East).

Sani said that on June 3, a catastrophic rockslide occurred at an open pit gold mine, resulting in 30 local informal miners being buried alive in the Farin Doki Community.

He said that the site was near Erena in Shiroro Local Government, Niger East Senatorial District.

Sani said the miners, in their quests for gold and lithium minerals, met their untimely death as the avalanche caved in; burying them under tons of rubbles.

He said the tragic incident underscored the urgent need for a holistic action to be taken to address the dangers faced and posed by local mining activities across the country.

Sani said it was imperative to secure the mining sites to forestall future occurrence and avoid further loss of life.

“This will go a long way to ensure that mining activities are conducted safely and legally to prevent future tragedies and improve the overall well- being of miners across the country,” he said.

He expressed worry that bodies of the deceased had yet to be recovered for proper burial by their respective families.

According to Sani, conscious efforts should be made by relevant agencies of government for the recovery of the bodies for burial.

He said given that Nigeria was desirous of diversifying its economy, adding that the mining sub-sector was lucrative enough and should be adequately exploited for the socio-economic development of the country.

“As such, the appropriate authorities should as a matter of urgency and necessity, initiate thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident so as to identify any existing lapses.

“As part of remedies to bring sanity to the system, strict regulations should be introduced in order to protect the lives of those who depend on this industry for their livelihood.

“It is also apt for relevant committees of the National Assembly to step up their oversight of mining activities across the country for the purpose of harnessing the benefits that abound in the sector,’’ he said.

The Senate, after observing a minute silence in honour of the victims, commended the Minister of Solid Minerals, Mr Dele Alake, for his swift response in monitoring the situation.

The Senate also urged the Federal Government to come out with strict safety measures and regulation on mining activities in Nigeria in line with international best practices.

The Senate also called for deployment of adequate security apparatus to the mining communities to maintain vigilance around mining areas to prevent further incursions and intrusion by informal miners.

It urged the National Emergency Management Agency and other relevant agencies of government to expedite actions on the recovery of the remains of the deceased in the catastrophe.

According to the upper chamber, such recovery will ensure that the bereaved families have final closure on their loved ones.

The Senate also urged the committee to accelerate the passage of the Mine Ranger Bill currently before the Senate. (NAN)

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