The coal mining communities of Ankpa Local Government Area of Kogi State have for decades remained an investors’ delight. The mining communities in Ojoku district are located in a lush vegetation that splashes its green colour in a vast open undulating plain in the east of the local government area. Beneath this naturally endowed thick flora that covers the mining region is the treasure – coal – fondly called black gold. It spreads its bed in the entire district, which some project could last up to hundreds of years to come.
Alhassan Ahmed, an elder in the mining community of Odagbo, said the black gold was thought to be a harbinger of blessing by residents, but regretted that by the turn of events over the years, it turned out to be an illusion.
“I grew up knowing Odagbo settlement like this; it has not changed in any form. I came to know that the coal mining started here in 1968 by the Nigeria Coal Cooperation (NCC), but up till now, there is nothing to show for it,” he said.
Daily Trust Saturday reports that the town is still wearing an ancient look. “Our residents remain the poorest of the poor. Our story is one of dashed hopes,” Ahmed lamented.
The plight of the residents of the sleepy settlement of Odagbo reflects the ugly picture of the rest of the mining communities in the district. It is a community with a name that remains inseparable from coal mining in Nigeria and is said to be sitting on a coal deposit of about 72 billion tonnes. Records from the Federal Ministry of Mines, Steel Development, however, reveal that only relatively over 350 million tonnes are said to have been tapped.