From: Emmanuel Uzor, Abakaliki

The Federal Government yesterday wadded into the impasse between Ebonyi state government and operators of mining sites across the state following the alarm raised by Governor David Umahi over environmental degradation and pollution in Enyigba in Abakaliki council area of Ebonyi State.

As a result of high environmental hazards, Ebonyi State Governor accused the Royal Salt Limited, mining division of not meeting all necessary safety measures including the Environmental Impact Assessment, EIA before they began operation in the state.

Governor Umahi while conducting the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi round the areas affected by the environmental degradation from the Royal Salt limited accused the company of ignoring all the warnings from the state government to abide by the safety measures.

He said that as a result of mining activities in the area, the area has been affected by pollution which has killed vegetation and wildlife, adding that the company has failed in their community social responsibility of taking care of their host community.

“As a result of the failure of the company to take into consideration the health and well being of their host communities, my people are suffering because their farmlands have been polluted by discharging substances suspected to be salt components to our farms through pipe which is very injurious to our farm lands and it has killed our vegetation and poisoned our water. I want to tell you that my people are known for agriculture as it is one of the mainsteads of my administration and anything done that affect this sector is a threat to my people”

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“Our local government areas of Ebonyi and Abakaliki must have shares in this company and we will pay to secure the future of the youths.

There is no way you can come to somebody’s farmland and destroy it. If the Honourable Minister fails to settle this quarrel, I will revoke the certificate of occupancy of this place and then ask you to come and put this farmland you destroyed in good shape. There is no way you will not put into consideration the wellbeing of my people and you are doing it as if we don’t have brains”

However, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi said the federal government will no longer tolerate any investor who does not take environmental impact assessment into consideration before operation.

Dr. Fayemi disclosed that the Royal Salt limited applied to the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development for the Environmental Impact Assessment, EIA but were not given approval before they proceeded for mining operation and pleaded with Ebonyi state government to leave peace to reign.

“We shall no longer tolerate any investor that goes into mining without carrying out environmental sensitization and sensibility. Ebonyi State is a very rich state and we are paying them their derivation as well as trying to attract more investors to the state.