Operatives of the Niger State Police Command have allegedly killed two suspected illegal miners Saturday evening in Kafin-Koro, Paikoro Local Government Area of Niger State, though identity of the miners killed could not be ascertained as of the time of filing this report.
The incident, Metro gathered to have taken place when the miners, in their multitude, decided to attack policemen deployed to the mining site after the death of seven illegal miners at the site, who were buried in the hole they dug.
Metro also learnt from a source close to the village that the illegal miners, who have defied every warning from both the state government and security agents in the state to desist from their illegal activities, mobilised themselves and waylaid the policemen.
The source, who pleaded for anonymity, stated that the miners, armed with some dangerous weapons, attacked the policemen, injuring one of them in the head in the process and the policemen were said to have opened fire, killing two of the miners on the spot.
Illegal mining activities had become rampant in various parts of the state in recent times and this had become a source of concern to the state government.
The state governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello recently expressed concern over illegal mining of solid minerals resources in the state, with particular reference to Shikira village in Kagara, Rafi Local Government Area of the state, where many lives, mostly minors, were lost to Lead poison from illegal mining of gold by the locals.
The governor had warned that “it is high time our people desisted from engaging in illegal mining, as its devastating effect on their health, environment and economy is unquantifiable.”
He added that the irony of this activity was that our people were being exploited, abused and at the end, many lives were put on the line due to health hazards associated with mining and at the longrun, our human capital was being depleted and our environment exposed to danger.
Governor Bello said efforts were on to standardise mining activities in the state, in collaboration with the Federal Government, so that miners and environment were protected and proceeds from exploitation well-coordinated.
Confirming the development, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Niger State Police Command, DSP Bala Elkana, said the police had sealed off the mining site.
He, however, warned all those involved in the illegal mining activities across the state to desist from such illegal acts, because if caught, they would be made to face the full weight of the law.