ABAKALIKI — Amaeze community in Ishiagu in Ivo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, yesterday, said over 17 persons have so far lost their lives to uncontrolled blasting of stones with explosives within the past ten months in the area.
The community added that it would no longer allow contractors working for the Railway rehabilitation project in the area to continue its illegal mining of granite stones.
Rising from its general meeting, leaders of the community said the declaration became necessary following the discovery that apart from its illegal entry into the community’s land, the company in the area, Eser West Africa Limited, had not been following laid down procedures for moving and blasting explosives.
The Nigeria Railway Corporation, NRC, through the Eastern District Manager, Mr. Felix Njoku, had in a press conference, accused one Chief Cletus Obodo from Ishiagu, of sabotaging the rail rehabilitation contract for the rail lines running from Port Harcourt to Makurdi, awarded to Eser West Africa Limited, by calling youths out on a protest against the contractors.
But in a statement, the Amaeze Community, under the auspices of Amaeze Development Union, ADU, said the issue of ownership of land was not its major concern, pointing out that issues of illegal movement of explosives and blasting of stones without proper environmental controls and precautions had continued to impair the wellbeing of its citizens.