Mine Collapse: Families conduct funeral prayers, as hope dims for trapped miners

Mine Collapse: Families conduct funeral prayers, as hope dims for trapped miners

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Eleven days after, hope of rescuing over 50 miners feared trapped in a mining site in Galadimakogo Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State dims.

Already, some families have conducted prayers for the repose of the souls of their beloved ones.

The Commissioner, Ministry of Mineral Resources, Garba Auna, and other top members of his ministry had convened a meeting with the Nigeria Union of Mines Workers and the Miners Association of Nigeria. The meeting was to review and assess the situation at the site.

It was gathered that after the meeting, a four-man committee was constituted. It comprised two representatives from each of the two unions and two members from the Ministry of Mineral Resources.

The committee was headed by the Director of Mining, Egr Adamu Garba Musa.

It was gathered that the committee members visited the site on Wednesday, and were briefed by the administrative office of the mining company — African Minerals and Logistics Ltd.

They were briefed about the rescue efforts they had put in place.

It was learnt that the company had deployed additional equipment. They include three excavators, two drilling machines, seven pumping machines, and a power generator for rescue operations.

“They have also recruited over 40 artisanal ad hoc staff to assist with the evacuation of rubble inside the pit and on the overburden,” one of the committee members told Vanguard.

A statement by the Information Officer of the Ministry, Debbie Maureen, noted that though significant progress had been made, there was still much to be done.

Also, it advised the technical personnel to work harder.

“The good news is that the clearance of the pit to the tunnel had been completed providing access to the blocked entrance where the victims are trapped.

“However, the committee discovered that there are three rocks still obstructing the tunnel. One has already been successfully removed, while efforts are underway to dismantle one of the remaining two with the help of artisanal mine workers, who believe that successful removal may lead to the rescue of some victims.

“The removal of the second rock stone will further increase accessibility to remove the third rock stone and reach the trapped victims in the tunnel,” the statement added.

One of the villagers, Abubakar, lamented: “With the development, the hope of rescuing those still believed to have been trapped about eleven days ago alive is lost.

“There are no modern equipment to break the stone walls and excavate the soil.

“Some of the villagers whose loved ones were declared missing and believed to have been trapped have organised prayers for their souls.

“There is no way people can be trapped under the rock for more than 10 days and we still think they are alive.”

Meanwhile, the Niger state Ministry of Mineral Resources has appealed to the general public and miners with relevant expertise to volunteer through the ministry for engagement and further rescue efforts.

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