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Field Report #209: Abandoned tin mines endanger communities
At Gyel District
Present state of affairs
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Present state of affairs
Funds that were supposed to go into remediation from the National Ecology Fund which Plateau State benefits from may have been diverted to private pockets as agitation by communities for remediation for degraded land and compensation for disruption of their livelihoods is yet to yield fruit.

Reports made available to ERA by the League of Human Right indicated that that Plateau State received close to N2 billion in ecological funds between 1999 and 2007, yet, had nothing to show for such monies allocated. Demand for ecological justice on polluted communities was said to have actually started under the Military administration of Colonel Musa Sheik Shehu that got N200 million in 1999 but did not expend the money on remediation of ecological disaster zones.

A commission of enquiry set up by the civilian administration that took over the rein of power that same year and probed the misuse of the ecological funds was said to have noted that the funds were misused but did not proceed to sanction erring individuals and firms found wanting.
Official records also show that between the second quarter of 2000 and first quarter of 2001 the state received about N279.5 million as ecological funds with nothing to show for it. And this same cycle continues till today.

“Tin mining here in Nyango Community dispossessed our parents their farmlands. My own farm where I formerly cultivated guinea corn and wild rice was taken away from me and there was no form of compensation when this happened. After the white men who started mining left, the land became totally unusable but worse is the fact that our only immediate source of water was the vast location where mining was carried out so we have been left with no other option than to go very far to get water.”    

80-year old Davou Pam, farmer in Nyango Community

“Life has become very difficult for us the women and our children because we can no longer farm in our community or get water to drink. The water coming from the earth flows from where solid minerals were excavated and is now polluted so we cannot trust the safety of the water. Anytime we fetch it we observe some small shiny particles that make using it to bath or even wash hazardous.

Madam Kanjan Yop Daniel, farmer Gyel

“The land I used to farm has become unproductive and the water unusable even for washing. Everywhere in this community is degraded. Because of this, many of the youths are leaving to the bigger towns. Today it is dangerous to even walk around the areas where the abandoned mines were operated because of crevices that were not covered up after the mining stopped”

 Ishyaku Mukthar, 45-year old motorbike operator, Gyel

“Most farmlands in this community are no longer usable because the crops no longer grow well. Besides, at every short distance there is a section of the earth that was dug to extract solid minerals. Now, we have to go very far off to get food that we would normally have cultivated here in this community. Tin mining which was used to develop other lands is actually our own curse because it has brought nothing but pain to members of the community”

Jephta Ngutore, 30 year-old indigene of Jere Community, Gyel District

“Maize and vegetables that I used to grow on my farm no longer look healthy because of some whitish substances from the abandoned tin mines that flow from the ponds into the farm. It is very painful because we depend on the land for food and the rest we sell. Government should come to our rescue”

Madam Asabe Shamani, farmer, Jero Community

One thing was apparent when ERA monitor visited the two communities: The locals are very bitter about the devastation of their communal patrimony –land, water and air, by companies that engaged in tin mining and the subsequent neglect of their communities by successive administrations at the federal and state levels. 


  • Compel the federal and state government to carry out a comprehensive environmental audit of Sabon-Barki and Gyel District in the Jos Plateau and to clean up polluted lands in both communitie.
  • A comprehensive probe of all monies allocated to Plateau State  under the National Ecology Fund since 1999 and appropriate sanction for individuals and organizations found to have misappropriated the funds
  • Government, as a matter of urgency, should establish health care facilities in the affected areas


Green Hotlines
Green Hotlines
Is there a spill, pipeline rupture, fire, gas flare, water, land or air pollution in your community or one you know about? Do you need assistance to respond, and prevent future occurrences or have you noticed any activity that threatens the environment?

In the event of any ecological disaster or threat to the environment, call our toll-free GREEN LINES:  08031230088 & 08031230089