The bodies of two policemen and that of the Youth Leader of the Ebonyi State chapter of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Ogochukwu Elem were yesterday recovered from a mining pit three days after the Volkswagen Golf car they were travelling in skidded off the road and plunged into the pit which is on the road side.
The mining pit which has existed for over 20 years, is about 25meters deep. The incident occurred at about 3pm along the Enyigba/FUNAI road between Abakaliki and Ebonyi local government areas of the state.
The Youth Leader and the two police escorts attached to him were travelling on Saturday from Abakaliki to his Ikwo hometown for an event when the tragedy struck.
The decomposing bodies of the victims were pulled out from the pit through the combined efforts of the state ministry of infrastructure, who had to hire a crane and local divers.
The Volkswagen Golf car which the victims were driving in was also pulled out from the pit. Governor David Umahi who mourned the death of Elem and the two police escorts, was on hand to direct the search and rescue operations.
The visibly angry governor condemned the activities of miners who dig the pits indiscriminately thereby endangering the lives of the people and destroying the environment.
He said his government will set up a committee to look into the issue warning that from henceforth his administration will not tolerate such practice from miners in the state.
Umahi also commiserated with the APC and the Nigerian Police over the loss. “We learnt of the unfortunate incident of an accident here on this road that was on Saturday.
The accident is still a mystery to all of us, that was the APC Youth Leader with some policemen that were going for a function and the accident happened.
“We do not know the cause of the accident, we do not know what happened but it’s quite very mysterious how it happened that even the wedges of the sand could not stop them and the small vehicle plunged into a pit that was dug over 20 years and not closed.
“It is very unfortunate and we have been fighting this issue of digging pits, harvesting lead, zinc and shipping without closing it back. We have been fighting with miners in Ebonyi State over this issue. And so, the Chief of Staff is here who also doubles as the Commissioner for Solid Minerals.
“We are going to identify all the pits in Ebonyi State whether it was dug for lead, for zinc, for shipping or any other mineral in Ebonyi State.
We have to identify who did it and then the closing of these pits must commence latest by next week Monday,” he said.