Underage miners warned they risk arrest
24 July 2013, 16:03
Vihiga Governor Moses Akaranga has sent a stern warning to parents who allow their children to play truant for the sake of mining gold at Viyalo Gold Mines in the county.
Akaranga said that those children who will be found in the mines will be forwarded to the police immediately.
He noted that many youths often spend their time in the mines looking for gold deposits and in the process tempt the school going children to join the trade.
“It will be very unfortunate for the school-going children who will be found in the mines looking for gold because we will arrest them and punish them on the spot,” said Akaranga.
The governor was speaking after touring the gold mines on Tuesday to see on the possibility of commercialising the mines for effective production. He was accompanied by some investors from Germany and the members of his executive committee.
He further warned employers at the mines that they will also be arrested and charged if found recruiting the students.
He directed the chiefs to take charge of the over 14 sites and take roll calls of the workers to ensure that no minors are subjected to child labour.
“Education, in this era, should be given the very first priority and thus my government will promote it at whatever costs so that we can have many qualified personnel in the county,” the governor said.
In the spirit of fighting the illicit brews, the governor warned mine workers who use drugs before going work that they risk arrest too.
He asked them to conduct their business soberly without the influence of drugs.
On the same note, the governor asked the miners to form associations in order to collectively seek ways of making the mines more profitable.
“It is good that all the miners pull their resources together so that if their yields are good, we can help in looking for market for them without involving the intermediaries who often oppress them,” he said.
He also observed that the money allocated for the youth in the county budget will be helpful to the miners if they come together in an association and present a proposal to seek the county government's support.
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