Residents of Oba community in Idemili South Local Government Area, Anambra State have raised the alarm over alleged plans by certain lawmakers in the State House of Assembly to frustrate efforts by the House towards ending illegal sand mining at the defunct Oba Airport site which had been a threat to the community’s existence.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday in the area, Regent of Oba, Prince Model Ezenwa praised the House of Assembly for its effort in addressing the menace, including arrest of the proprietor of the firm involved in the alleged illegal mining.
He however regretted that some lawmakers were hell-bent on scuttling the investigation, calling for quick intervention of the House of Assembly leadership and Minister of Environment, Mrs Sharon Ikeazor to save the community from the looming erosion menace being caused by the illegal miners.
He said, “Oba community has repeatedly pleaded with the Proprietor of Oyotraco, Mr Osita Agina, who is also from Oba to stop his sand mining activities that is threatening the entire community, but he ignored us and continued.
“We have written to the Minister of Environment, Mrs Sharon Ikeazor and Member Representing Idemili North and South Federal Constituency, in the House of Representative, Hon. Obinna Chidioka, and the two visited the site and were alarmed at the devastation erosion caused by the sand mining activities of Agina, and promised to talk to the state government, to stop him, but nothing came out of their visits.
“We petitioned the State House of Assembly and they discussed the matter at the floor of the House, invited Mr. Agina several time and he ignored them. The lawmakers ordered the Commissioner of Police to arrest him and produce him to the House, an order that was announced in Anambra State Broadcasting Service, ABS.
“He was however, arrested on Monday 31st August, 2020 and brought to the House of Assembly on Tuesday, 1 September, 2020. But even before he was brought to the House Assembly for questioning, some people went for his bail, but the Commissioner of Police was said to have refused demanding for a letter from the State Assembly because his arrest was on their instruction.
“We gathered that Agina is using his lawmaker friend in the House Committee on Environment in the state to ensure that the matter is swept under the carpet.
“We are therefore appealing to Speaker Anambra State House of Assembly, Uche Okafor and the Chairman House Committee on Environment, Eddy Ibuzo to ensure that the lawmakers complete their investigation and come out with a decision on the matter.
“Anambra State House of Assembly cannot be working for soft landing for somebody who is breaking the law at the expense of the community that petitioned against him, their son for that matter who has refused to heed to their cry of his people over his activities that is threatening them.
“We also call on the Minister of Environment Mrs Ikeazor and Hon. Chidioka, who incidentally are from Obosi, to act now because the erosion being caused by the illegal sand mining of Oyotraco is fast eating into Obosi.”