Home News Niger Mining Pit Collapse: Over 30 Still Trapped, 3 Weeks After

Niger Mining Pit Collapse: Over 30 Still Trapped, 3 Weeks After

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More than three weeks after a mining pit collapsed in Galkogo, Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State, over 30 miners have remained trapped, victims’ families and residents said.

Recall that labourers were working inside the 400-metre-deep pit owned by African Minerals and Logistics Limited when it caved in on June 3 after a heavy rain the previous day.

While government agencies, including the police, claimed that 20 people were trapped and six had been rescued, families and locals insisted that 50 individuals were trapped.

They said the six people were not rescued as claimed by government officials but managed to escape before the pit fully caved in.

Families of the victims expressed frustration over the slow progress and lack of government’s involvement in the rescue efforts.

Suleiman Isah, whose younger brother is among the trapped victims, criticised government’s response to the situation, saying, “We are confused. I was crying because my younger brother is among the victims. There is no day that I don’t go to that site. The recovery team has not been able to bring his body out.

“They said his left leg had already been cut off because of stones that fell on his head. Under his corpse, three other bodies have been sighted. But until they can remove my brother, they won’t be able to bring out the ones under him.

“I couldn’t go there today (Wednesday) because of the traumatic experience I had at the site yesterday, seeing how they were trying to drag out my brother from the pit. The three bodies that were so far recovered have been deposited at the mortuary of the IBB Specialist Hospital, Minna,” he narrated.

He alleged that only the affected company was involved in the recovery efforts, without any help from either the state or federal government.

“What they do is to remove stones and pass them on to one another until they take them out. It is the same way they are bringing out the dead bodies because excavators cannot stretch inside the ground to take out stones that fell on the victims. With this, when will they finish bringing out the victims?”

Meanwhile, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake, on June 7, 2024, announced a N50 million federal government’s donation to support the victims’ families.

The minister, who said he was representing President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, announced the donation in the Government House in Minna during a meeting with Governor Mohammed Umaru Bago and representatives of the affected communities.

However, Isah said that no money had been received yet.

He said, “We have not seen any money. We heard that on the social media and news platforms, but nothing has come to anybody.”

Mallama Safiya Ibrahim, the wife of one of the trapped victims, said in a telephone interview with our correspondent that she had not lost hope that her husband would be rescued alive.

“I will be happy if my husband is brought out of the pit alive. I have been praying, and I am hopeful. Let the authorities bring them out so that we know our fate.

“But I believe the government is not doing enough to save the victims. We learnt that some people came from Abuja, and with support from our people, they are working to bring them out. We pray they succeed,” she said.

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