Home News Niger Mining Pit Collapse: Families Of Trapped Victims Cry Out

Niger Mining Pit Collapse: Families Of Trapped Victims Cry Out

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More than a week has passed since the collapse of a mining pit that trapped labourers at a mining site in Galkogo Community in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State. The rescue efforts have stalled, putting the families of the victims in a dilemma.

Labourers working at a mining pit owned by African Minerals and Logistics Limited are trapped inside the 400-metre-deep pit as it caved in while they were underground following a heavy rain the previous day.

 It was gathered that, initial efforts to rescue the trapped victims, who included the site manager, Alhaji Ishaku Ibrahim, stalled because of the lack of appropriate equipment. One of the relatives of the victims, Mallam Salihu Saidu, also confirmed that the victims were yet to be rescued.

He said the families of the victims were having sleepless nights, hoping that with efforts from concerned authorities, the victims may still be rescued alive.

“The families have not lost hope. Nothing is impossible with Allah, but I doubt if any of the victims will be alive now. It is so sad!”

Also speaking, Ummi Musa, who said her brother is among those trapped said: “Nobody has confirmed if they are all dead. Probably some of them would have died and some would still be alive, but nobody has any assurance that they are all dead. We want government to keep trying to see if they can be rescued.”

While the authorities have kept sealed lips after failed efforts to rescue the victims, the families have continued to grieve, appealing to authorities to at least recover the bodies of their brothers for proper burial.

Similarly, while government agencies, including the police, had put the number of trapped victims at 20 and said that six were rescued, families and residents held a contrary position, insisting that the number of people trapped in the pit was more than 50, adding that the six people were not rescued from the pit but were lucky to have escaped when it was caving in.

A government official told the media that some families of the victims have held the Muslim seven-day Fidau prayer on Monday.

“Federal Ministry of Solid Minerals Development and the company operating the mining site are using artisanal miners to dig the place. The rescue effort is being done manually. And some families held seven day Fidau prayer on Monday for their relations. They believe the victims would have died by now.”

However, the Director General, Niger State Emergency Management Agency, Alhaji Abdullah Baba Arah said the rescue effort was still ongoing.

The president of Lapma Youth Forum, Babangida Zaharudeen Kudodo, also said  that the victims were still trapped with no serious rescue effort currently going on.

He said the company managing the site was also yet to condole with the families of the victims and the community.

“The six people they said were rescued actually ran away when the pit was caving in.  The area is rocky and some of them were hit by falling rocks and sustained injuries. These were the six people said to have been rescued.

“At least 50 people were said to be underground when the pit caved in. The pit is about 400 metres deep, it is almost about 10-storey building. The workers used ladders to enter.

“So, those inside have not been rescued yet. I am telling you authoritatively that none of those victims trapped in the pit has been rescued. That pit has not been opened; the place is still there, if anyone wants to see he should go there and check if they have opened that place. So, the people are still inside, he lamented.

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