Following the recent gas emission from exposed coal seam in Umuozu community in Otolo, Nnewi North LGA of Anambra State, the minister of state, Mines and Steel Development, Hon. Abubakar Bawa Bwari has ordered an intensive investigation to ascertain the possible effect of the incident on the communities.

LEADERSHIP recalls that the minister had dispatched a team of officers from the ministry to visit the scene for preliminary inspection and to hold discussion with the affected community.

The team observed that as a result of gully erosion around the community some coal seams were exposed with some emitting gases that resulted in the death of 15 persons as reported by the community.

According to a statement made available to LEADERSHIP from the ministry, the team was told that there was intermittent fire flares from the exposed coal seams and this commenced around December 2017.

Coal deposits are known to contain several gases that are highly toxic and injurious to human health and environment. In this case, the deaths could be as a result of the coal releasing carbon dioxide and other gases that if inhaled could cause harm to human beings.

It was further observed that there is no mining activity in that vicinity; therefore, this disaster is not related to mining operations.

In this light, the minister has directed that further investigation be carried out on the effect of this on humans and the environment.

This is to ascertain the type of gas as well as proffer adequate solution so as to curb the situation.

In order to ascertain the effect on the ecosystem, samples of the coal and water have been taken from the affected community for further investigations.