Unregulated mining activities degrading Taraba lands – Task Force

The Taraba State Task Force has said the unregulated activities of miners in the state has led to the degradation of arable lands suitable for farming.

He further said the exploitation of teenagers as cheap labour by the mining companies has also increased the number of school dropouts. 

Charmain of the Task Force, Gen. Jeremiah Faransa (rtd) who spoke, Monday at a briefing in Jalingo, the state capital,  also  said some communities in the state have now abandoned farming because their lands have been degraded.

According to him, ” Over 20,000 legal and illegal people are mining in Taraba state. The illegal ones are camouflaging as labourers under the legal mining companies.

“It was in Arufu and Akwana communities in Wukari local government area of the state that I knew we were finished.

“What we saw is a sad tale. These communities have been excavated and destroyed by the activities of both the legal and illegal miners.

“The land in these communities are no longer suitable for farming or even building.

“They have now abandoned farming completely and every household in these communities has miners.

Also in Dogon Yasu,  teenagers who are supposed to be in school are being exploited by the mining companies and are used as cheap labour.  When we interviewed most of them, we discovered that they are being given N500 or N1000 a day.

And that is why you see there is increase in the number of dropouts in Northern Nigeria.”

He however clarified that the state is not against the activities of investors in the mining sector, but is concerned about due deligence and environmental protection.

He said, “there are certain responsibilities expected of you as a miner, especially regarding environmental protection and public safety. 

“Under the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulation 2007, it is expected that after excavation, the miner is supposed to refill that land up to 80%, but I have not seen up to 10% in the mining sites.