Illegal Gold Miners In Dangbala Threaten Security In Edo State

Illegal Gold Miners In Dangbala Threaten Security In Edo State

There is tension in Dangbala as various groups compete for the illegal mining of gold deposit in Akoko Edo. Unauthorised mining activities in Dangbala, Akoko Edo Local Government in Edo State continue to peak as non-state groups struggle over the unregulated gold mining sites. Gold Mining groups and elites with vested interests in the Akoko Edo have also increased the competition over access to mining sites. And this has continued to fuel the rising threat within and around the area.

Edo State government and Federal Government must move to disincentivise artisanal mining by the local population. Arguably, the human capital deficits in Dangbala and Uneme Eruru, Akoko- Edo and lack of effective government presence in mining areas are push-factors to the cut-throat engagement of the local population in a quest for sustenance and survival. Adequate government regulations will, to a large extent, address the losses to illegal mining. Part of the revenue accruing from regulated mining should be used to drive development in the area. If the Federal government can maximise revenue from mining activities, it can fund developmental projects that will improve the living condition of the people. Besides, these efforts will significantly reduce greed and grievance-driven threat in the region. Without a government-led and community-centred approach, illegal mining and conflicts in Nigeria’s unofficial theatre of war will continue to reinforce each other and pose numerous existential crisis in the region.

Government must act on the current state of the gold supply chains in Akoko Edo notably by mapping the actors involved (in production, trade and export) in both the private sector (formal and informal) and the public sector. This article covers industrial production as well as artisanal and small-scale mining and identifies the different risks associated with the gold sectors in Akoko Edo.

There is danger looming in Akoko Edo, Local Government, Edo State, the suspension of illegal mining in Zamfara and other states in the North West is having a multiplier effect here in Edo State, as we observed serious influx of illegal Northern miners into the state.

This is indeed a signal of impeding serious security breach in the state. Before now, we have raised serious concern about the volatility of Dangbala land, where there are illegal mining sites, this recent development would definitely worsen the situation”, I must lament.

My investigation further revealed that there are over 5000 illegal miners from the North, in over 3 villages and towns in Akoko Edo, including: Dangbala and Uneme Eruru, among others. While illegal mining in the state is not new, the influx of new entrants, including the Chinese and illegal miners from the north, has increased dangerous mining activities capable of endangering the environment. Their activities are aided by local chiefs and the police who capitalise on regulatory failures, my investigation revealed.

With their collaboration, several hectares of forests have been damaged due to activities of illegal gold miners in Dangbala and Uneme Eruru.

Section 44 (3) of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining law of 1999 provides that ownership and control of all minerals in Nigeria is vested in the federal government, which is mandated to manage such natural resources in a manner as may be prescribed by the National Assembly. The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development is responsible for granting licences to operators. Any operator without a licence from this ministry is deemed to be carrying out illegal activities. Such person may be arrested and tried in any Federal High Court.

Over the last decade, Nigeria’s fast-growing economy has been fuelled by high prices in the mining, oil, and gas sectors. As these prices climbed, illegal activities, especially on gold mining, have been rapidly expanding into previously untapped parts of the country. Dangbala in Akoko Edo Local government Area in Edo State is now. As these prices climbed, illegal activities, especially on gold mining, have been rapidly expanding into previously untapped parts of the country. Dangbala in Akoko Edo Local government Area in Edo State is now at the frontline of this shift, as unscrupulous elements seeking to evade authorities are capitalizing on Its remote location and heavy

Illegal gold mined from Dangbala, Akoko Edo Local Government Area in Edo State, my investigations revealed that these gold miners in their numbers after obtaining information on the availability of alluvial gold in the area aided by some local chiefs capitalized on regulatory failures and proceeded on a free for all excavation, not minding the environmental impact of their activities. Proceeds from the illegal mining we learned allegedly go into the pockets of few elites in the community who most of the aggrieved villagers believe are untouchable by the government despite the continuous squandering of their natural wealth.

Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State is blessed with several mineral resources in commercial value such as calcite, gold and mud stone. “Presently, over 30 companies are engaged in mining operations and activities in Akoko-Edo with over 5,000, mainly causal workers, in

My investigations revealed that these gold miners in their numbers after obtaining information on the availability of alluvial gold in the area aided by some local chiefs capitalized on regulatory failures and proceeded on a free for all excavation, not minding the environmental impact of their activities. Proceeds from the illegal mining we learned allegedly go into the pockets of few elites in the community who most of the aggrieved villagers believe are untouchable by the government despite the continuous squandering of their natural wealth.

With Section 44 (3) of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining law of 1999 stating that ownership and control of all minerals in Nigeria is vested in the federal government, which is mandated to manage such natural resources in a manner as may be prescribed by the National Assembly, the villagers are calling on the relevant authorities especially the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development saddled with the responsibility of granting licenses to operators, to quickly wade into the matter and checkmate the illegal gold mining activities to forestall a full-blown community conflict


Inwalomhe Donald

 writes from Dangbala,

 Akoko Edo

Local Government,

Edo State

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