The Association of Miners has been given a week by the Kogi State House of Assembly to settle disagreements among their members in Ankpa and other affiliated unions in the state.
The House Committee on Public Petitions Chairman, Hon. Paul Enema, issued the ultimatum when Kogi State Chairman of the Association of Miners, Oruma Yunusa, and other significant stakeholders testified before the lawmakers regarding allegations that Chinese nationals were stockpiling weapons and ammunition in Agumagu, one of the mining sites in the Ankpa Local Government Area of Kogi State.
Enema pointed out that the ultimatum will give the resentful parties a chance to band together and advance the goals of Kogi State.
The lawmaker, who is also the current Deputy Speaker and represents Dekina/Okura State Constituency, said that learning that some individuals were stockpiling weapons and ammunition in order to disturb the peace in Kogi State was saddening and extremely concerning.
This, he said, will not be entertained by the government of Alhaji Yahaya Bello, adding that the House will investigate the matter to a logical conclusion.
While warning that no citizen of Kogi State should take laws into their own hands, the lawmaker charged the aggrieved parties to sheath their swords by embracing peace in the interest of Kogi State.
“The basis of the petition was arms and ammunition hoarding in the coal business of Ankpa Local Government. That was why we invited the Chairman of the Local Government, who later gave us his report that there was nothing of the sort.
“The companies they are accusing came here to testify that they had nothing to do with arms and ammunition and their Chinese partner that the petitioner is also accusing. From our preliminary investigation, the house gathered that they are a reputable international company.
“Having heard from the Chairman of the Kogi State Association of Miners that we should give them the grace of one week so that he can put his house in order, the house is expecting him to come back in one week with the progress report.
“Like the Executive Chairman did say, we can call the Divisional Police Officer of Ankpa Local Government, Area Commander, and Chief of Agumagu to ask if there is such a thing. We are waiting for the chairman to report back to the house with his findings. There will be resolution at the end of the day before necessary actions are taken.
Also speaking, the lawmaker representing Ankpa I State Constituency, Hon. Lawal Akus, posited that the allegations of hoarding arms and ammunition were weighty and should not be taken lightly.
“We have given them ample opportunity for all the parties to go and discuss in a bid to resolve the issue. We feel it is the responsibility of lawmakers to look into the allegations that were raised and come up with peaceful resolutions before we can take further action.
“Ankpa is very calm and peaceful. There is no tension, as widely speculated. What we heard today is that the Chinese people mining in Ankpa are depriving the indigenous people of access to the market.
“We feel that it is something that the union people can resolve with the Chinese people by looking at the problem holistically with the aim of putting an end to the dispute.
“If they can’t resolve it among themselves, the house will wade in through the state apparatus and set whatever condition we think will be beneficial to the people of Ankpa Local Government and the state at large,” he stated.
It could be recalled that the Kogi State House of Assembly had received a petition from a group of concerned citizens of Kogi, who decried the threat to lives and property at mining sites in the Ankpa Local Government Area of the state.