Officials have recovered the decomposing body of the Youth Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ebonyi, Ogochukwu Elem, from a mining pit in the state.
The remains of two policemen travelling with the late Elem were also retrieved from the scene on Monday, two days after a vehicle conveying the victims plunged into the pit.
They were pulled out by rescue officials and local divers supported with a crane provided by the Ebonyi State Ministry of Infrastructure during an exercise supervised by Governor David Umahi.
While addressing reporters at the scene where the bodies were recovered, Governor Umahi mourned the victims and condemned the activities of miners.
He decried the indiscriminate digging of mining pits which he said was endangering the lives of the people and causing destruction to the environment.
“We learnt of the unfortunate incident of an accident here on this road; that was on Saturday,” the governor said. “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 wages 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 shippings without closing it. We have been fighting with miners in Ebonyi State over this issue. 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 whether it was dug for lead, for zinc, for shipping, or any other mineral. We have to identify who did it and then the closing of these pits must commence, latest, by next Monday.”
The accident occurred on Saturday at the Enyigba-Izzi community axis of Abakaliki-Ikwo Expressway in Abakaliki Local Government Area of the state.
The victims were said to be travelling to Ikwo Local Government Area for an event before their vehicle lost control and plunged into the pit which is about 32 feet deep.