The Edo State Government has begun enforcement of the order on illegal burrows, by shutting operations of not less than 10 burrow pits in Benin City, the state capital, in a renewed drive to safeguard the state’s environmental integrity.
The enforcement team was led by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Sustainability, Bright Emeodume, and the Ministry’s Director of Enforcement, Ero Isaac.
The affected burrow pits are located in Ofumwegbe after Iguogboe community as well as those in Iguoshodin Ccommunity, among others.
Recall that the Ministry of Environment and Sustainability ordered the closure of burrow pits by operators with immediate effect, citing health and environmental concerns.
In a statement signed by the Commissioner for Environment and Sustainability, Omoua Oni-Okpaku, the state government suspended operations on all burrow pits.
The order, which took effect from August 2, warned owners and operators of burrow pits, haulage operators, tipper drivers and other stakeholders that operation of a burrow pit without the appropriate approval is a criminal offence punishable by law.
Mr Oni-Okpaku explained that the shutting down of burrow pit operations was to enable the state government “re-evaluate and re-certify the sites.”
According to the commissioner, “Towards this end, all such owners and operators are required to report to the Ministry of Environment and Sustainability for re-certification and subsequent inspection of their sites. For the avoidance of doubts, the following documents will be required for the exercise: operating licence issued by the Federal Ministry of Mines, Steel and Solid Minerals; Evidence of Environment Impact Assessment carried out on the sites; Evidence of remediation levies and Health, Safety and Environmental Plans.”