The Minister of the FCT, Nyesom Wike has expressed concern on the activities of illegal miners fuelling kidnap and land degradation.
On Thursday 19 people were kidnapped in Bwari Area Council even as no fewer than 30 persons were reportedly killed in the Kuje Area Council alone.
Wike at a meeting with chairmen of the six area councils, promised to summon the FCT Director of State Services as well as the Commissioner of Police to obtain adequate information on the kidnap incident and facilitate rescue operations.
While asking the council bosses to set up a surveillance task force in their areas to monitor mining activities, Wike said he would meet with his counterpart in Solid Minerals, Dele Alake to eliminate illegal mining in the FCT.
Speaking on the challenges confronting the councils, Kwali Area Council chairman, Danladi Chiya appealed to Wike and the Minister of State, Dr. Mariya Mahmoud to come to their aid.
“When we heard about your appointment, we were happy because you have been a Council Chairman and therefore understand our challenges. Our challenges are inadequate funding of the local government system.
“We have the major challenge of insecurity across the six Area Councils. Just today about 19 people were kidnapped in the Bwari Area Council. I just received about five people in my council who were in captivity for about six days.
“The next is the development of satellite towns. The issue of sanitation is one of the major challenges confronting us. There is also no efficient transport facility. The Abuja Urban Mass Transit buses are no longer functional.
“Then, there is the issue of land allocation. You sit in your council and your backyard will be allocated to someone you don’t even know. Graveyards and worship centres would be allocated and all we are saying is that we should be carried along in terms of land allocation.
“The responsibility of primary school teachers is on the local governments. The UBE’s payment of salaries lies on the council which by law is supposed to be 60-40 percent. We are pleading that you help us so that this issue can be looked into”, he said.
The Kuje Area Council Chairman, Abdullahi Sabo also lamented the menace of illegal miners.
“There is the issue of illegal mining in the FCT. Indiscriminate mining licences are given out and this has led to insecurity. They give letters of consent to Chinese people.
“Just a few days ago, there was a landslide that took the lives of 30 people as a result of the activities of illegal miners. We appeal to you to engage the Minister of Mines to stop mining in the FCT.
“On sanitation, we have a problem. Sanitation is a big issue. It is the duty of the council not just to collect the fees but to dispose of refuse. We have to sit down and work together on this by adopting a common template”, said Sabo.
Wike said: “On illegal mining, I will talk to the minister. Ordinarily, I would say you should also form your own surveillance taskforce as Chief Security Officers of your councils and make arrests and we will support you. However, I will meet with the minister”.