Crisis in Delta community follwing discovery of lignite, kaolin

Crisis is said to be brewing in Ukwu-Nzu, an agrarian community in Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State, following the alleged disruption of a meeting between the community development committee and prospective investors by security operatives.

Community sources says that the investors have indicated interest to exploit the huge deposits of kaolin and lignite, which were recently discovered in the community.

But the meeting to continue discussion on the mining of the natural deposits was disrupted by security operatives who were said to be acting on the instructions of the state Commissioner for Lands Dan Okenyi who comes from the town.

The community source said the police went on a rampage, molesting, intimidating and bullying those suspected to have been working against the interests of their sponsors.

According to the source, discussions had reached an advanced stage with the investors before the interference of Okenyi, who is said to be acting on behalf of the state government as a way to hijack the processes.

However, the state Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Urban Development has denied the allegation, saying that he was not aware of any meeting let alone any disruption by security operatives.

Okenyi told our correspondent in Asaba that he has been away and only returned yesterday, adding however that the state government does not even have mining rights which he noted was the exclusive preserve of the Federal Government.

He said as a prominent indigene of the community, he was aware that investors were already engaging the traditional ruler of the town, adding that he equally advised the investors to approach the Federal Ministry of Steel to secure a mining license.

Regardless, some sources within the community are apprehensive that the disruption of the meeting at the weekend may snowball into unimaginable crisis that may hinder development in the community, and consequently tear them apart.

“The community is already embroiled in a sort of cold war, with meeting and plans ongoing on how to negotiate control of the huge deposits of the solid minerals deposits in the community. 

“The plan to invest in the exploration of the vital resource which supposed to bring joy to the community has now turned to another thing,” a source lamented. 

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