The people of Dangbala Community in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State, have alleged that the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) provides security cover for illegal gold miners in the community.
Spokesman of the Community, Mr Collins Nicholas, made the allegation in an interview with newsmen in Benin on Thursday.
He alleged that officers of the security outfit provide cover for the illegal miners that have just made a return to the mining site after the Edo State Government had placed embargo on the site earlier in the year.
Nicholas said the miners who work both in the day and night, are able to carry out their illegal activities because they have the full protection of the NSCDC.
It would be recalled that residents of the Community had on Tuesday raised the alarm over the return of activities of illegal gold miners.
The residents under aegis of Concern Residents of Dangbala, raised the alarm in a statement by Godwin Amusa and Agbaje Saiki, Convener and Secretary respectively.
The residents noted that it has become imperative to go public on the issue in order to avoid the Zamfara State situation.
They said that not only have the increased competition created tension in the Community, but that their activities have become an issue of security threat in the area.
Similarly, Nicholas appealed to the concerned authority to check activities of these illegal miners before it snowball into what Zamfara State is presently experiencing.
He said angered by the action of the NSCDC some youths who attempted to stop the illegal miners from carrying out their illegal activities against the state government order were mercilessly beaten and injured.
“On the 13th of August, the same illegal miners arrested by Civil defense were released. At a meeting held in the Community, we were shocked to see them jubilating that Civil Defense has declared Dangbala bush open and as I speak all kinds of people are working there freely without the approval of Edo State Government.
“When the kindred that owns the place went to find out what was happening they were attacked and the matter is pending at Igarra Area Command. We have written several petitions on this.
Meanwhile, the State Command of the NSCDC have denied the allegation and noted that the mining site was still not opened for any activities since its closure by the state government.
Spokesman of the command, Mr Efosa Ugbebor, said that the place was still been guided by its officers since its closure.
“It is not true that our officers are providing cover for illegal miners in Dangbala. Infact, there is no mining activity in that area as we speak.
“Few days ago, precisely on Tuesday, the Command sent anti-vandal and solid mineral team of the NSCDC to the area but they found noting happening there.
“To clear any doubt, we have asked the community people to immediately report to our office should they see anything of such. Perhaps, they can provide any evidence if they have any for us to act on,” he stated.