In other to preserve the environment, particularly in Owerri Capital Territory, the Imo State Government has banned all forms of mining and dredging within the Owerri Capital Territory and its environs.
Government has also warned that any person or persons, company or group of companies caught mining within the territory will be arrested and made to face the consequences of such illegality.
The decision was taken at the weekly Executive Council meeting presided over by the Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma at the Executive Council Chambers, Government House, Owerri.
Briefing reporters at the end of the meeting, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba flanked by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Lambert Orisakwe, Commissioner for Livestock Development, Mrs Obiageri Ajoku and Chief Press Secretary/Media Adviser to the Governor, Mr Oguwike Nwachuku informed that henceforth, illegal mining and borrow-pitting in Owerri Municipal has been banned and now an offence to indulge in such act.
He also said that the council noted with dismay the activities of criminals on some moribund Government owned industries such as Avutu Poultry Farm, Nsu Ceramic Tiles and many others that have been vandalized by criminals who carted away valuable government properties and equipment. Council regretted that the most worrisome aspect of it is that the criminals do so in collaboration with some people within the community and others who are supposed to protect such properties.
He, therefore, warned that Government is taking the matter seriously and plans to resuscitate such industries and bring them back to life, hence has decided that “anybody caught in the act must surely be dealt with very decisively.” Emelumba said such persons will not only be prosecuted, “but government will also make sure such individuals face the full weight of the law and pay the penalty of the criminal act.”
The Commissioner emphasized that government has embarked on investigation of those who have already succeeded in vandalizing and carting away some of the properties and that those found culpable will be fished out and prosecuted accordingly. These measures, he said, are specifically meant to serve as deterrent to people that will contemplate carrying out such activities in future.
Emelumba informed that the Council commended the Governor for being proactive on the signing of an Executive Order reducing the tariff of the communication right of ways, saying that the decision has propelled some communication companies to take advantage of the reduced funds to invest in the State.
He said that “most of them are now ready, willing and able to come to Imo State” and that “soon their presence in the State will engage Imo youths and reduce unemployment and increase the State Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).”
Also, he explained that the council commended His Excellency for signing an MOU with USAID for the provision of portable water, a project that will make clean water available to many households in Imo State.
In accordance with the terms of the MOU, Council has directed that the process leading to full incorporation of the Imo State Water and Sewerage Agency commences immediately as it is a critical part of the terms of the MOU.
The Information Commissioner also noted that the Council directed the Ministry of Works to immediately carry out the rehabilitation of very bad spots at Irete and Mgbidi junctions along Owerri/Onitsha Express Road, notwithstanding that they are on the Federal roads.
He equally informed that the Executive Council gave approval in principle that Imo Broadcasting Corporation should commence the process of digitalization to meet up with the standards in modern broadcasting.
The weekly State Executive Council meeting was attended by the Deputy Governor, Prof. Placid Njoku, the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Cosmos Iwu, Chief of Staff, Barr. Nnamdi Anyehie, the Head of Service, Dr. Camillus Iwuagwu, all Hon. Commissioners and some Special Advisers.