By Stanley Onyekwere
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has declared readiness to put an immediate halt to all illegal mining operations within Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) and across the Territory, due to the dangers such activities pose to the health of residents in those communities.
This position was made known by the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, when he led a delegation from the FCTA on a recent courtesy visit to the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, in Abuja.
Malam Bello decried the situation where a mining company without obtaining the proper permits from the relevant authorities began gold mining operations in Kutasa community of AMAC, with the tendency of polluting the community’s water source.
Commenting on the recent fact finding visit to the area by the FCDA, the Minister said: “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 the appreciation of the FCTA 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 for which a report has been prepared to be discussed with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
He also disclosed that the FCTA was also in discussion with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources to improve the quality of the water of Jabi lake, in Abuja.
According to him, population expansion coupled with human activity has compromised the water quality of the Lake, which is entirely manmade and draws its supply from the Katampe Hills.
On the eradication of open defecation in the country, Malam Bello commended his Water Resources counterpart saying “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”.
Earlier, while welcoming the FCT delegation, the Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Sulaiman Adamu thanked the Minister for the visit, and commended the FCTA for its action regarding the mining activities at Kutasa community.
He revealed 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.