At least 30 persons have lost their lives in a landsline reportedly triggered by activities of illegal miners in the Kuje Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, while nineteen others were also abducted in Bwari Area Council.
This was disclosed during a meeting between the FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, and six Area Council Chairmen.
The minister, pledged to meet with the Director of Department of State Services (DSS) in Abuja as well as the Commissioner of Police to get up to date report on the case.
Wike also said he would meet his counterpart in Solid Minerals, Dele Alake, to put an end to illegal mining in Abuja.
Additionally, the former Rivers Governor told the council bosses to form a surveillance task force in the area to curb such criminal activities.
“I am here to work for the FCT, not to work for any political party. I am here to support the administration of Asiwaju to realize the dreams of the founding fathers. It doesn’t matter your political affiliations or religion, I am here to serve all.
“We cannot achieve anything without support from the Councils. We are not struggling for power and so we have to collaborate. It is in your interest as council chairmen to work for the people and that you can do by collaborating with us. What affects you affects me and so I will not be anywhere and allow Area Councils to be shortchanged.
Earlier, the Kwali Area Council chairman, Danladi Chiya appealed to the Minister to help the affected councils defeat their biggest nightmare.
He said, “When we heard about your appointment, we were happy because you have been a Council Chairman and therefore understand our challenges.
“Our challenges are inadequate funding of the local government system. We have the major challenge of insecurity across the six Area Councils. Just today (Thursday), about 19 people were kidnapped in Bwari Area Council. I just received about five in my council who were in captivity for about six days.
“The next is the development of satellite towns. The issue of sanitation is one of the major challenges confronting us.
“There is also no efficient transport facility. The Abuja Urban Mass transit buses are no longer functional.
“Then there is the issue of land allocation. You sit in your council, and your backyard will be allocated to someone you don’t even know. Your graveyards and worship centres would be allocated and we are saying that we should be carried along in terms of land allocation.
“The responsibility of primary school teachers is on the local governments. The UBE’s payment of salaries lies on the council which by law is supposed to be the 60-40 percent. We are pleading that you help us so that this issue can be looked into”.
Kuje Area Council Chairman, Abdullahi Sabo, lamented the menace of illegal miners.
He said: “The issue of illegal mining in the FCT. There is indiscriminate mining licences given out and this has led to insecurity. They give letters of consent to Chinese people.
“Just few days ago, there was a land slide that took the lives of 30 people as a result of the activities of illegal miners. We appeal to you to engage the Minister of Mines to stop mining in the FCT”.
“On sanitation, we have a problem. Sanitation is a big issue. It is the duty of the council not just to collect the fees but to dispose refuse. We have to sit down and work together on this by adopting a common template.
“On illegal mining, I will talk to the minister. Ordinarily, I would say you should also form your own surveillance taskforce as Chief Security Officers of your councils and make arrests and we will support you. However, I will meet with the minister.”