Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Musa Bello has vowed to put an end to all illegal mining operations in the Territory which he says poses a huge health risk to residents in the affected communities.
According to him the activities of these illegal miners have the tendency of polluting the community’s water source and leave them exposed to several dangers associated with contaminated water.
Chief Press Secretary to the Minister, Anthony Ogunleye in a statement revealed that the Minister made the pledge during a courtesy visit to the Ministry of Water Resources in Abuja.
He said, “There is a situation where a mining company without obtaining the proper permits from the relevant authorities began gold mining operations in Kutasa community of the Abuja Municipal Area Council with the tendency of polluting the community’s water source.
“Federal Capital Development Authority, FCDA, visited the area what they saw is something of great concern to us as an administration, particularly because in our records, we had no inkling whatsoever that the company was even granted a mining lease to prospect for gold in an area within the FCT.
“And the company went ahead and entered into agreements with the local communities without the knowledge of the traditional structure, as well as the local government administration structure. All these, obviously, are wrong, because they are totally against existing policy of mining”.
The Minister expressed his appreciation to the Ministry of Water Resources for drawing the attention of the Administration to the activities and dangers posed by the mining activities at that location adding that report has been prepared to be discussed with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
Bello added that the FCTA was also in discussion with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources to improve the quality of the water at Jabi lake in Abuja.
He explained that population expansion coupled with human activity has compromised the water quality of the Lake which is entirely man-made and draws its supply from the Katampe Hills. He said FCTA was interfacing with the Ministry to enhance its quality.
Bello also laid emphasis on his administration’s committment to end open defecation in the Territory even as he thanked the Ministry of Water Resources for their efforts so far.
He said, “I commend you for your efforts regarding the open defecation Executive Order and all the efforts you have done and the targets you have set for us as a country.”
“I want to assure you that the FCT has keyed into it and I thank you for implementing the policy in some of our communities jointly with my colleague the Hon. Minister of State and I assure you that we will continue with this partnership and also take it a step further by deploying public toilets at appropriate locations, based on the conversation that is already ongoing between your Ministry and the FCTA”.
In his remarks the Minister of Water Resources, Sulaiman Adamu thanked the Minister for the visit, commending the FCTA for its action regarding the mining activities at Kutasa community.
He said that issues of water pollution emanating from mining activities was of great concern to his Ministry considering the issue of lead poisoning in Niger State as a result of mining activities in 2016.