By Mafugi Ceesay
Amadou Camara, a member of the NA select committee on environment, has told The Standard that the committee on fact finding mission has confirmed that it was in fact the government who issued a sand mining license to Julake enterprise to mine river bank of Faraba, and not the Alkalo as claimed by the villagers.
Camara said this was done through the geological department in consultation with the NEA.
The lawmaker said the select committee will now take a decision and give recommendations to the government as whether to seize the operational license from the enterprise or allow it to continue operations.
“We will take a decision just after the completion of the fact finding mission,” he said.
Camara, who also disclosed that the committee was accompanied by government environment experts from geological department and NEA, added: “We were able to find out that the 3 hectares that the government of The Gambia allocated to Julake was even mined almost to an end by illegal miners. That is the reason the government gave him another 9 hectares. Now the Faraba community are coming with different allegations against Julake and their own Alkalo.”
The lawmaker told The Standard it was the responsibility of his committee to take care of the environment, make regular suggestions to people on the dangers associated with activities that will deter the development of their surroundings.
He said his team was also able to find out that even before the geological department gave mining license to the enterprise, the enterprise was already approved by the NEA.
He dismissed claims by villagers that the company was illegally destroying football fields, individuals and family homes in its bid to connect a road to the river bank and the main highway.
Earlier, thousands of angry villagers protested against the Barrow-led government’s decision to issue a sand mining license to Julake enterprise.
The village development committee, who were leading the protest, accused the village Alkalo and council of elders of taking unilateral decisions, after the issued operational license to the enterprise without the consent of the community.
The chairman of the Village Development Committee, VDC, Alagie Sanyang, said: “The consent of the Faraba community was not sought and that is a requirement before issuing a license. Therefore, it is illegal for Julake to continue mining in Faraba.”