By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
Barely a day after the Police in Niger State issued warning against activities of illegal artisans prospecting gold and other solid minerals at the state’s College of Education, Minna, two children of same parentage were killed in a mine pit at Tungan Goro, a suburb of the state capital.
The two, Nasiru and his younger sister, Asama’u, were beneath the gound, digging out the earth crust in search of raw gold on Monday at evening hours when suddenly it began to rain.
The two kids of about twelve years and eight, were crushed by mud as the surface of the earth above them caved in on them as the intensity of the rains came down in torrents on the earth surface.
According to an eyewitness, who was at the scene of the tragedy, other miners had taken refuge under adjoining minepits instead of rushing out to their places of abode which encouraged the two children to also hide in the pit they were digging as the it began to rain.
Tungan Goro is few kilometers away from the Niger state College of Education, (COE) where authorities of the institution had a day earlier lodged complaint against activities of illegal miners who were upturning the earth surfaces around the territory of the college in search of gold.
Illegal mining have heightened in recent times as locals busy themselves daily for hours unend prospecting for gold which abound in parts of the state in some places, gold is found just beneath few layers of the earth surface.
Before the rains came down, it was preceded by heavy wind storm and dust which covered the entire horizon with dust from the excarvated earth from the mine pits which forced the miners to go underground for cover.
And as the rains descended, every miner was on his own. The two kids hid in the pit which they were digging from when calamity struck.
The earth surface above them collapsed on them following the torrential rain and crushed them to death unknown to other miners.
Soon after the rain which lasted for about an hour, the other miners discovered that the pit where the two children were digging had collapsed and was filled with mud and rain water.
A search for the whereabouts of the two soon proved that they were trapped in the mud that was hours earlier before the rains, a gold mine pit.
The search party hurriedly dug out the earth, excavated the muddy water and to their shock, found the two children drenched in the mud where they had suffocated and died without any help.
Soon, confusion, shriel cries and waIlings pervaded the entire community as the remains of the two were fetched out drabbed in mud and earth but lifeless.
Uneasy calm has since taken over the immediate community even as the remains of the two were buried amidst fears that government could descend on the family of the two children for allowing their wards to be involved in illegal mining activities which has since been outlawed by the state.
Our correspondent reports that such tragedies are common in parts of the state were illegal mining are thriving.
In Rafi council area of the state, six minors were killed about two years ago for injesting leed as a result of mining activities.
Also in Shiroro, Galadiman Kogo and some communities in adjoining Erena area, several cases of leed poisoning are rampant with fatalities recorded but illegal mining have continued to heighten.