The Enugu State Government has begun shutting illegal mining sites as well as those that are operating without environmental impact certifications or mitigation plans.
Speaking to reporters following a firsthand examination of a mining site in Awhum, Udi Local Government Area, the state’s Commissioner for Environment and Climate Change, Prof. Sam Ugwu, declared that the government would not sit back and watch the environment and lives be destroyed.
He warned that any company that reopens and resumes operations without the government’s permission will be detained and prosecuted in the state Environmental Protection Court.
The Commissioner said, “We are here basically to look at what is going on here and to seal the place on behalf of the Enugu State government. You have all seen what is going on here, you have seen extensive mining activities going on here with a lot of environmental degradation in the state.
“We want to see the veracity of the licence which they claim they have and we have given them a letter inviting them to a meeting. We also want to find out how the have been remitting environmental fees to the Enugu State Ministry of Environment.
“We also want to find out the mitigating plans they have. The state government is aware of other mining sites, we know them in different local governments, we know the sites, gradually and we are going to get all of them.
“Our mission here gives signs to other mining activities that don’t have any recourse to the state government that we are coming to see them.”