From: Bamidele Fashube, Abuja
Communities affected by Dangote Coalmine Limited in Ankpa Local Government Area (LGA), Kogi State are seeking urgent intervention of the Federal Government to suspend the coalmining activities due to pollution.
They pleaded with the right authorities during an engagement with the media and civil society organisations, held at the Heinrich Boll Foundation and organised by Global Initiative for Food Security and Ecosystem Preservation (GIFSEP).
For instance, representatives from Onupi and Awoakapali accused the firm owned by Aliko Dangote of water, soil and air pollutions, particularly the health implications of the coalmine, as it affects pregnant women leading to miscarriages in the communities.
“I want the federal government to stop this miscarriage affecting our women. We want the federal government to intercede for us so there won’t be miscarriage again,” Agagwu Rachael, Women Leader, Awoakpali said during the meeting.
She described the concern as big threat that requires urgent action from the relative authorities.
“My opinion is that if they don’t proceed with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), they should suspend work for now,” Aliyu Suleiman, former Community Representative of Onupi added.
In addition, Adejoh Samuel, Secretary of Awoakpali Coal Committee pleaded for reclamation of the polluted sites
He explained why the open space already mined should be reclaimed and prepared ready for plant cultivation.
“Secondly, if they are to continue with their mining, they should ensure our unemployed youths are given formal employment, not engaged as a casual worker. The roads should be tired and the affected communities should be provided with drinkable borehole. Then, hospital should be built and equipped.”
In his remarks, Alfa Stephen, Chairman Onupi Community advised the federal government to effectively intervene in the matter and provide the community with basic social necessities.
He cited an instance of how Dangote’s coalmine justified the mining activities with claims that they remit their taxes to the government.
“We are not feeling the impact of the federal, state and local government. The other time we spoke with the project coordinator, he said the federal government should take care of us because they pay derivatives to the state government.”
“We need good roads to save us from the dusts on our farm produce, community clinic and a good clinic within their site where the casual workers could do regular tests.”