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Environmental degradation: Court restrains firms from mining coal in Enugu community



In view of the harmful effects of mining, the High Court in Enugu State has restrained two companies, Milhouse Energy Services and African Pits & Quarries Ltd from mining coal in the state.

The companies were engaged in coal mining at Awhum in Udi Local Government Area of the state.

In the ruling presided by Justice A.R Ozoemena, Chief Judge of Enugu State, a restraining order was sequel to an ex-parte application brought before the court by the Attorney-General of Enugu State in Suit No. E/626m/2023.

After hearing the submission of W.I Ezenwukwa Esq. with C.C Egungbe Esq. and C.J Chukwuebuka Esq. for the Applicant, Justice Ozoemena ordered suspension of further activities, sealing, and closing down of the site.

“An order of interim injunction is made restraining the Respondents by themselves, their agents, servants, privies, workers, successor-in-title or any other person claiming title or interest through them from carrying further on the activities, environmental degradation, damaging and interfering whatsoever manner with the large expanse of land situate at Ibite Awhum, Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State.”

“An order of interim injunction is made suspending further activities, sealing, and closing down the premises of the Respondents situate at Ibite Awhum, Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State,” the court said.

The court adjourned the case to October 3, 2023.

Recall that the Governor Peter Mbah administration had in June banned illegal mining activities in the state and also set up the Enugu State Committee on Review of Mining Activities, on Friday, to check the menace.

The Committee, headed by the Commissioner for Environment and Climate Change, Prof. Sam Ugwu, had earlier on Monday commenced the sealing up of illegal mining sites in the state.

The Committee, which commenced its enforcement exercise at the Awhum coal mining site of Milhouse Energy Services operated by African Pits & Quarries, accused the company of environmental degradation to blasting without approval and due regulations, non-remittance of staff tax to the state government despite deducting same from the staff as well as non-remittance of pension contributions to the pension scheme despite deducting same from the staff, among others.

Reacting to the court order, Prof. Ugwu, said the state enforcement of the ban on illegal mining would continue across the state until there is none left. He said that government would not fold its hands and watch the environment destroyed and lives engendered.

Although it was confirmed the quantity of coal the companies cart away from the site daily, information from some members of the Awhum community put it that well over 50 truckloads.

“We have no room or land or even forest for illegal mining activities or any mining activities that undermine the environment, lives, and economic wellbeing of our people and the State today or in the future.

“Apart from determining the veracity of the licenses, which they claim they have, we also want to find out the mitigating plans they have in place.

“We are very much interested in what happens to these host communities and their environs many years after these miners have closed shop because if you take a look at the Niger Delta, the people are still suffering greatly from environmental degradation caused by oil exploration activities of many decades ago.

“Enugu powered the industries of Europe and beyond at some point through this same coal. Today, our environment is still bearing the scars and brunt of those mining activities. So, we will not fold our hands and watch that happen all over again,” Prof. Ugwu stated.


Kidnapping: Senator tasks NASS on new robust strategies



Sen. Ned Nwoko (PDP-Delta) has urged the National Assembly to recommend robust strategies to prevent kidnappings in the country.

Nwoko representing Delta North, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday.

He said the joint committees of the National Assembly on security agencies should interface with relevant stakeholders and come up with novel measures to tackle the menace.

According to him, kidnapping has increasingly made life difficult for citizens and is affecting the economy, including food security.

Nwoko said this would have far reaching effects on the country’s prosperity.

The senator particularly said that the kidnappers had gradually made life difficult for residents of the FCT, particularly in Kuje Area Council.

Nwoko said in spite of the efforts being made by security agencies, a lot needs to be done in tracking and apprehending the kidnappers.

He also called for enforcement of the 2023 law that criminalised payment of ransom to kidnappers.

The lawmaker, whose legislative aide and 18 others were recently abducted in the Galadimawa area of Abuja, said it was important to take appropriate measures to end the menace.

He, therefore, called for a joint operation involving the Army, Air Force, Police, and Department of State Services (DSS) to intensify the search efforts for the captives.

Nwoko also urged the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to seek funding for  installation of CCTV cameras in strategic locations within and around Abuja, and along the highways, and major capital cities to bolster surveillance and deter criminal activities.

“The IGP  should also urgently increase security patrols and surveillance within Abuja and across the nation to proactively combat and prevent further kidnappings.

“In view of this, I recently moved a motion on urgent action needed to fortify security, and tackle the surge of kidnapping in the FCT,” he added.

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Military neutralises terrorist kingpin, others in Niger air strikes – NAF



The Air Component of Operation Whirl Punch, has eliminated a dreaded terrorist and kidnap kingpin, Yellow Jambros, and scores of other terrorists in airstrikes in Shiroro Local Government Area (LGA) of Niger.

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) made this known in a statement by the Director, Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, on Sunday in Abuja.

Gabkwet said the terrorists met their end while attempting to cross the Jikudna River in Galadima Kogo District, heading towards Wurukuvhi axis of Chikun LGA.

He said that Yellow Jambros and his cohorts were trailed from Zamfara into Niger riding 13 motorcycles along the Kaduna-Niger State border, precisely heading towards Kusasu in Shiroro, prior to the strike.

“At Kusasu, five other motorcycle-riding terrorists joined Yellow Jambros’ convoy, bringing the total number of motorcycles to 18, which then headed to the bank of River Jikudna.

“At the river bank, the terrorists and their 18 motorcycles boarded a large motor-powered canoe in an attempt to cross and link up with other terrorists across the river.

“It was at this point that the authorisation to undertake a strike was given.

“The precision strike was adjudged effective as it neutralised Yellow Jambros and his colleagues, destroyed their motorcycles and sank the boat.

“Though it was unusual for terrorists riding in a convoy of 18 motorcycles to travel in broad daylight, it was apparent that Yellow Jambros and his cohorts had assumed that air strikes were suspended following the unfortunate incident at Tudun Biri in Kaduna State and wanted to exploit the perceived window of opportunity,” he said.

The NAF spokesman said that Yellow Jambros and his cohorts had been responsible for several kidnappings and killings along the Abuja-Kaduna Road and in several communities in Kaduna, Niger, Katsina and Zamfara States.

He said a kidnap kingpin, known as Mohammed Sani, who arrested by the Police in Zamfara in October 2020 for murdering over 50 of his victims due to their inability to mobilise ransom, had claimed that he worked for Yellow Jambros.

According to Gabkwet, the terrorist revealed that Yellow Jambros usually supplied him with fake military and police uniforms, guns and other weapons needed to execute his operation.

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ECOWAS meeting holding in Abuja



The 64th Ordinary Session of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, Heads of State and Government is holding in Abuja, Nigeria.

The session, to be chaired by President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria, is attended by Heads of State and Government in the 15-member block.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that countries like Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone are already at the venue at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Other members attending are Benin, Gambia, Togo, Cape Verde and Senegal.

The ECOWAS Commission and other stakeholders like former President Goodluck Jonathan, the U.S. Lead diplomat for Africa, Molly Phee, the African Union (AU), and the UN Secretary General Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel, Leonado Simao, are also attending the meeting

The end-of-year meeting is expected to review various decisions and agreements taken and initiated by the body including that of the adoption of the ECO as a common currency for the region.

The issue of the coup d’etat in Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea would also be deliberated on by the regional body at this meeting.

Other issues are climate change, democracy, bilateral relations as well as the African Continental free Trade Agreement.

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