More than 30 communities in Zamfara State are now being threatened by lead poison due to the activities of illegal miners in the state, the commissioner for Environment, Alhaji Idris Keta said yesterday.
The commissioner said this while speaking with newsmen in Gusau on the activities of illegal miners in the state.
He said many people were now engaged in illegal mining and exploration in the state thereby endangering their lives and those of members of the community where they operate.
“Our major concern is that of women and children who are most vulnerable, many of whom can die before help could come,“ he said.
He said there were over 5,000 licensed solid minerals explorers in the state, but “because they do not have the operational capacity, they engage in illegal mining by exploiting unsuspecting labourers and putting the lives of many on the line’’.
He, however, said the state government had started closing all mining sites pending a new policy expected from the federal government.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that one of the affected miners, Inta General Enterprises Ltd, had petitioned the Minister of Mines and Solid Minerals Development over the closure of its site.
Addressing a news conference on Friday on the matter, the director of Administration of the company, Alhaji Shamsuddeen Sani, alleged that the state government had trespassed into the site.
He said the company had urged the Inspector -General of Police and other relevant authorities to intervene in the matter.