Nigerian government revealed that 15 people of Umuozu community in Otolo, a suburb of Anambra State, lost their lives to gully erosion in the area.
Abubakar Bwari, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, who was drawn to the gas emission from exposed coal seam in the community, dispatched a team of officers from the ministry to visit the scene for preliminary inspection and to hold discussion with the affected community.
He said: “Coal deposits are known to contain several gases that are highly toxic and injurious to human health and 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.
“In this light, the ministry has ordered further investigation on the effect of this on humans and the environment.
“This is to ascertain the type of gas as well as proffer adequate solutions so as to curb the situation. In order to ascertain the effect on the ecosystem, samples of the coal and water were taken from the affected community for further investigations.”