Four Chinese nationals and 16 Nigerians have been arrested at a Mining site in Echara Unuphu, Abakaliki Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, for Illegal mining.
Their arrest was at the instance of the Ebonyi State Government.
Senior Special Adviser to Governor David Umahi on Internal Security, Dr. Kenneth Ugbala, described their actions as “shocking”.
He said the miners did not follow best practices in their activities and were creating environmental and security problems to the state.
According to Ugbala, the miners dug a deep tunnel which they may be using for other illegal activities
He said: “The future of this state is at stake because of the activities of these illegal miners. I was in China recently and I know that the Chinese don’t temper with their environment no matter the problem.
“With the type of problem created here in the name of mining, it is possible that this tunnel they created may lead to the Government House and other places.
“So, what do we expect? A total collapse! When we are living up here, another road is underground in the name of mining. There is no society, environment or state that this type of thing is seen. It’s not as if they pay IGR, and what type of IGR will be more important than the future of our children and the people. We will fish-out all these people.”
One of the suspects, Nnamdi Peter, who hails from Enugu State, said he has worked in the mining tunnel for three months.
He said: “In the first place, I don’t know this is illegal mining. If it is illegal, I wouldn’t have been working here. The company should have carried out Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) with NESRA before embarking on this type of mining.”
The Chinese men refused to speak to reporters, and only gesticulated with their hands that they don’t speak or understand English.