Renevlyn Development Initiative

Victims’ Bodies Yet to be Recovered from Shiroro Mine More Than Three Weeks After Incident

Field Report 004

Date of Visit:
22-23 June, 2024

Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State

Report by:
RDI Field Reporter


  • State agencies engage in buck passing over incident, fail to deploy excavators to dig out remaining bodies
  • Families of victims in agony due to stalled rescue efforts


A Save-Our-Souls from the few survivors of the collapsed mine pits in Galadima-Kogo, Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State, and the relatives of presumed dead victims necessitated a visit to the locality by RDI field monitors to ascertain the current state of affairs.

The visit allowed the RDI team to speak with relatives of those whose bodies are yet to be dug out of the site who lamented that the deaths of their children trying to irk a living from mining would not have happened if the right rescue equipment were provided by the government and the mining company which is registered as Jurassic Mines Limited.

It would be recalled that on Monday 3 June 2024, the mining pit which is said to have a depth of about 400 meters in a mountainous area collapsed after a heavy downpour which weakened the earth around the facility. Information on the incident did not filter out until a day after. The disaster trapped about 60 labourers who were locals from Pandogari and other nearby communities. Many who survived were seriously injured. Unfortunately, many of the victims who were still alive two days after the incident were abandoned and left to die due to lack of appropriate equipment to dig them out.

RDI gathered from some of the survivors that contrary to government claim to have rescued them, they (the survivors) escaped to safety on their own when the pit caved in. The State Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, in a statement through its Director of Media and Strategy, Habibu Abubakar Wushishi would seem to corroborate the claims as he disclosed that rescue operations were hindered by insecurity in the area as well as the treacherous terrain.

Members of the Galadima-Kogo community that the team interacted with complained that before the incident artisanal and illegal miners had been encroaching on people’s farmlands and ancestral lands to mine with the attendant impact on the environment which now suffers varying levels of erosions. Those who spoke said that though they see mining as a means of livelihood the activities of the mining company needs proper regulation which is currently not the case.

Findings from the Community Visit

The company at the heart of the incident is Jurassic Mines Limited, an indigenous firm licensed by government to mine gold in the community. Management of the firm was said to have got the consent of the district head in charge of the community before commencing their mining operations.

Locals told RDI that unfortunately there has been little or no oversight from the government in the operations of the firm as children as young as 10 years old are recruited to mine and drafted into the deep and narrow mining pits, some as deep as 400 meters into the earth. In the process many of them are exposed to dangers such as inhalation of toxic contaminants, suffocation, dehydration and various respiratory illnesses.

Blame Game

The Permanent Secretary, Niger State Ministry of Mineral Resources, Alhaji Yunusa Mohammed Nahauni, blamed the mining company for the collapse, insisting that there was an order by the state government banning mining activities in the state due to security concerns. He said despite this order the company was still operating. He is also of the view that companies must comply with mining principles and operational guidelines so as to save lives.

Conflicting Numbers of Dead and Trapped Victims

There have been conflicting figures from the community, state government agencies, and the Nigeria Police on the actual number of people trapped in the pit and those that were rescued.

While the Niger State Emergency Management Agency said 30 people were trapped, seven rescued and one person confirmed dead, the Nigeria Police Public Relations Officer, Niger State command, SP Wasiu Abiodun and the state Ministry of Mineral Resources said 20 people were in the pit but six were rescued, adding that 14 people were still trapped. Wasiu Abiodun also corroborated that the lack of equipment and heavy rubbles hindered the rescue operations.

RDI reliably learnt from families and residents who held contrary positions that the number of people trapped in the pit was more than 50, adding that the six people were not rescued from the pit but were lucky to have escaped when it was caving in.

A week after the incident, family members of the victims held the Muslim seven-day Fidau prayer believing all hope is lost in digging them out alive.

While the authorities have kept sealed lips after failed efforts to rescue the victims, the families have continued to grieve, appealing to authorities to at least recover their bodies for proper burial. Findings have it that, for over a decade that the company has operated in the community, it has never carried out any sort of corporate social responsibility project.

Testimonies from Locals

Jibrin Isa, Relative of Victim

My sister’s husband, who is also the site manager, Ishaku Ibrahim Kuta was among those trapped in the pit. It has been very traumatic for us, my sister’s husband was trapped. We have accepted the fact that they are already dead. As at Wednesday (June 5), some of them were still alive because we heard their voices but because equipment to lift the rubbles to enable them come out was not readily available we could not do anything.

Mallam Salihu Saidu, Relative of Victim

None of the victims was rescued except for those who escaped when the pit caved in.

Ummi Musa, Relative of Victim

My brother is among those trapped. Till now, nobody has confirmed if they are all dead. Probably they would have died.

Mohammed Suleiman, Survivor

I and others escaped when the pit started caving in. Even some of those that tried to rescue the victims also got trapped.

Babangida Zaharudeen Kudodo, President of Lakpma Youth Forum

It is very unfortunate that the company managing the site is yet to condole with the families of the victims and the community. The six people they said were rescued actually ran away when the pit was caving in. The area is rocky and some of them were hit by falling rocks and sustained injuries. These were the six people said to have been rescued.

At least 50 people were said to be underground when the pit caved in. The pit is about 400 metres deep, it is almost about 10-storey building. The workers used ladders to enter.

That pit has not been opened. The place is still there, if anyone wants to see he should go there and check if they have opened that place. So, the people are still inside.

Planned Legal Action

Aggrieved youths from the Lakpma Youth Forum have threatened to take legal action against the company, attributing the incident to negligence.

Spokesman of the Forum, Abdullahi Suleiman Erena called on governments at all levels to take punitive measures against the company to ensure justice for the victims and avoid recurrence.

They said the names of trapped miners who may already be dead now are:

  1. Abdullahi Yahaya
  2. Ibrahim Mansir
  3. Abubakar Isah
  4. Friday Musa
  5. Godwin Hussaini
  6. Benjamin Ashafa
  7. Zayyanu Ibrahim
  8. Abdul Ali
  9. Hamza Musa
  10. Umar Abubakar
  11. Joseph Madaki
  12. Ibrahim I
  13. Ishiaku Kuta
  14.  Abbas Musa
  15. Yakubu Mamman.

Pictures from the Field

RDI Demands

  1. The Niger State Government take full responsibility for the mine collapse for failing to carry out effective oversight function on the activities of mining companies within its territory
  2. Niger State Government immediately engage expert companies with the right excavators to trace and dig out the bodies of the remaining trapped miners.
  3. The Niger State Government sanction Jurassic Mines Limited for engaging children in mining and failing to put in place adequate safety protocols in the mining sites
  4. Comprehensive audit of the environment in Galadima-Kogo in Shiroro Local Government Area and enforcing compliance with Nigeria’s Mineral and Mining Act 2007 which stipulates that no reconnaissance activity shall be carried out and no mineral title shall be granted under the Act over any area that is designated as closed to mining.
  5. Adequate compensation for families of victims and free treatment for survivors including trauma treatment.
  6. Enforcement of Section 28 of Nigeria’s Child Rights Act which stipulates that a child must not be exposed to any form of forced or exploitative labour.

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