The Minister of State Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bawa Bwari, has dispatched a team of ministry officials to visit Umuozu community in Otolo, Nnewi North Local Government Area of Anambra State where a gas emission exposed coal seam killed 15 people.

A statement said the team carried out a preliminary inspection and discussed with the affected community, where they were told that there was intermittent fire flares from the exposed coal seams which commenced around December 2017.

Coal deposits are known to contain several gases that are highly toxic and injurious to human health and the environment. In this case, the deaths could be as a result of the coal releasing carbon dioxide and other gases that if inhaled could cause harm to human beings. It was observed that there was no mining activity in the vicinity; therefore, the disaster was not related to mining operations.