Onitsha Sand Miners Demand Justice After Demolition of Mining Sites

Amanda Daily
2 Min Read
Demolition of Mining Sites

Sand miners in Onitsha, Anambra State, have decried the demolition of their buildings and mining equipment by the Onitsha South Local Government, reportedly on the orders of the state government.

The council carried out the demolition in February, citing the buildings and equipment as a nuisance and defacing the city’s topography.

At a stakeholders meeting with the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), the sand miners, represented by the Onitsha Sand Miners Association, expressed deep dismay over the demolition. Association President, Chief Chris Mbaegbu, claimed that more than 10 crafts and sand dredgers worth over N30 million each were destroyed, along with buildings worth billions of naira.

Mbaegbu noted that the demolition occurred despite an interlocutory injunction from a court restraining such actions, which he considered contempt of court. He highlighted the devastating impact on over 2,000 individuals who are now jobless due to the demolition’s ripple effect on their dependents.

READ ALSO: Benue Govt Plans Demolition of Property Housing Kidnappers, Cyber Fraudsters

The sand miners urged Governor Chukwuma Soludo to intervene and restore their businesses, noting their contributions through revenue payments to the state government, NIWA, and the Federal Ministry of Mines.

NIWA’s Area Manager for Onitsha, Nicholas Suleiman, clarified during the meeting that NIWA did not sell the land to the sand miners, dispelling social media rumors.

He explained that the miners were tenants to those who acquired the lands from the original landowners. Suleiman emphasized that NIWA controls the 100 meters from the River Niger and grants certifications for mining operations, with revenues shared between the federal, state, and local governments.

READ ALSO: Enugu Widows, Residents in Distress Over Demolition

Responding to the situation, the Secretary of the Onitsha South Local Government Area, Paul Onuachalla, defended the demolition, stating that the local government had warned against overloading tipper vehicles with sand, which damages roads.

He denied committing contempt of court, asserting that the demolition was completed before the court order was received.

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