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Task force recovers 22,231 kg of blue sapphire in Taraba

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The task force Chairman, Brigadier Gen. Jeremiah Faransa disclosed this on Monday at a press briefing in Jalingo.

Faransa said the mobile court of the force had prosecuted over 100 persons.

While warning illegal miners to leave the state and stop the destruction of the ecosystem, Faransa said the Executive Order 5 of Governor Agbu Kefas was the best visionary step towards protecting the state ecosystem.

“What illegal miners have caused the state can only be imagined. From Akwana and Arufu in Wukari local government to Mayo-Sina in Sardauna, Kungana, and Dogon Yasu in Bali the destruction is massive.

“If there is a bandit attack in the area and the Akwana -Wukari -Makurdi road is blocked, for instance, the entire people of the area will not be able to escape.

“Those carrying out illegal mining activities and deforestation have caused us tremendous environmental damage and taken away billions of naira.

“We have discovered over 20,000 legal and illegal mining in Taraba. In some communities, families have abandoned farming and taken to illegal mining. On one of our visits to Mayo Sina, we recovered Blue sapphire of 22, 231kg. This is a mineral that is very expensive and the blue sapphire in Taraba is of the world’s best quality.

“In Dogon Yasu in Bali Local Government, nearly 5000 people are doing illegal mining aged 18-25 years. These youths are being exploited, they are not going to school, and in most cases, they are paid between N500 and N1000 daily.”

Faransa who said it is not going to be business as usual for the perpetrators, called on licensed miners to follow the law and those willing to invest in the sector to ensure proper documentation with the state government which will include what the host communities and government will benefit and not to come and destroy the environment for their selfish gains.

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