Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Seven rescued as 50 feared trapped in collapsed Niger mining pit

The federal government has rescued seven persons at a collapsed mining site in Galadima Kogo, in Shiroro Local Government Area (LGA) of Niger State.

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, said this in a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media, Segun Tomori, on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said that first responders had already been deployed to the scene of the incident, adding that the rescue mission was in collaboration with the mining company.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 30 people were said to be trapped in the pit at a mining site operated by African Minerals and Logistics Ltd.

However, other sources said at least 50 workers are trapped underground at the pit.

Among those trapped is the site manager of the mining company, Ibrahim Ishaku.

It was gathered that a middle-aged man, whose name was given as Kuta and who is the chief security officer of the mining company, died while trying to rescue some of the victims.

It was further gathered that while manual rescue operation was ongoing, another portion of the mining pit caved in, forcing the rescuers to abandon the rescue operation and run for their lives.

Abdullahi Arah, the director-general of the Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA), said the collapse was caused by a downpour which softened the soil.

The minister said the swift rescue action was a demonstration of the commitment of the government to mitigate the adverse impact of the incident and rescue those still trapped in the rubble.

“Upon learning of the incident, we mobilised our Federal Mines Officer (FMO) and officials of the Mines Inspectorate to the site.

“In collaboration with the mining company, we have rescued seven victims, some with injuries. Rescue operations with excavators are ongoing to ensure we avert loss of lives,” he said.

According to the statement, the minister recently announced a policy on the mandatory arrangements of remedial measures for mining pits as part of the criteria for applying for mining licences.

The move was aimed at minimising incidents such as the collapse of the mining site in Niger.

It said the minister was actively monitoring the situation at the mining site

He assured Nigerians of the Federal Government’s resolve to investigate the remote causes of the disaster to prevent a recurrence.

In an earlier statement in Minna on Tuesday, the public relations officer of the state emergency management agency, Hussaini Ibrahim, said, “due to the unacceptable nature of that environment as a result of banditry, the information of the incident is very scanty, including rescue operations”.

Mr Ibrahim, however, disclosed that excavators had been deployed to the scene for the rescue operations.

He also said bandits attacked two areas in the state on Sunday night.

He said the bandits kidnapped six persons in Adogo Mallam village in Mashegun Local Government Area and at least 20 people in Tunga Kawo village in Erena ward of Shiroro Local Government Area, where he said hundreds of cows were also rustled.

By Maimuna Raji Egigogo, Premium Times

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