The illegal mining site at Dive Dashiki, Jos South, Plateau State.

By Marie-Therese Nanlong

Jos – When Messrs Obi Eze and Adewale Adeosun, both neighbours at the Diye Dashik area of Jos South local government area bought their respective plots of land from the initial owners, they did not envisage the trouble they would go through in the hands of other neighbours, chief among them, identified as Barr. Jok.

The duo laments that their property is now at risk as their mutual neighbour, Barr. Jok allegedly gave out his portion of land for crude mining which is devastating their portions of land.

Eze says his soon-to-be-completed house which he has spent almost all his savings to build is on the brink of collapsing due to land degradation via crude mining activities which had caused uncontrollable erosion.

Adeosun lamented that a portion of his septic tank which he dug had collapsed due to the land degradation which has extended to his property and called on their neighbours who are giving out their lands for illegal mining to stop.

They allege that their neighbour, Barr. Jok sees nothing wrong with the danger he is exposing them to and insists he has the right to do what he pleases with his property.

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The distraught duo disclosed they had approached the community leader to intervene but Jok repeated he has the right to use his property the way he wants.

When contacted, Jok said, “Who are these people? It is not true; it is not affecting their land.”

However, the duo have written a complaint to the Zonal Mines Officer in the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to intervene before more damages are done in the already devastated area.

The acknowledgment copy of the letter sighted by this medium reads in part, “… kindly use your good offices to come to our rescue as our structures are in danger.”
Eze mentioned that the mining activity started over two years ago. They were stopped yet the crude miners returned recently working round to clock to extract the mineral resources from the soil and “tried to assault me when I attempted to stop them from digging close to my house.”

Recall that illegal and artisanal mining which uses crude methods to extract the minerals from the soil is a dry season occupation across communities in Plateau State. It is a common sight across these communities as people of different genders and ages converge, ferociously tearing the soil and threatening both public and private property as they burrow under the earth’s surface to extract minerals.

A Berom elder, Da Dauda Gyemang revealed that many young people are encouraged by their parents to drop out of school to engage in the risky trade to get some quick money.

He insisted that the sad reality is that these young people cannot manage their quick wealth so they squander it on alcoholism and early marriages.

His words, “One major activity going on on the Plateau now is illegal mining and very young people drop out of schools to engage in it. They get quick money without the capacity to utilise the money. They go into drinking and begin to cohabit in the name of marriage. This is very risky, some parents are even encouraging their children not to go to school but to go for this mining at the age of 10; 15 years, many of them go into drinking and marriage.

“We have been advocating for organised mining with financial literacy so that the youths can be guided on how to use their money and even pay taxes to the government…”,Gyemang said.

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