EFFORTS of the Osun State government to checkmate the activities of Illegal miners have paid off with the arrest of seven suspects for allegedly carrying out exploration of gold deposits in Itagunmodi community of Atakumosa local government area of the state.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Mineral and Natural Resources, Hon Tunde Ajilore, who effected the arrest of the seven suspects with security backup from men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) stormed the community where the illegal gold mining was being carried out without authorisation by the government.
Speaking during the parade of the suspected illegal miners at the office of the NSCDC, in Osogbo, Ajilore declared that the incumbent administration would not leave any stone unturned to stop, what he termed destructive activities, perpetrated by unauthorised miners, stressing that structured biometric database for miners in the state underscored the priority accorded the protection of environment and natural resources.
While describing the damage done to the mining site as enormous, he lamented that the activities of the miners amounted to economic sabotage, warning that the state government will not fold its arms and allow the situation to continue unchecked.
According to Ajilore, “as a state, what we are saying is that there is a need for us to know how many miners are here, a landlord who does not know how many people is feeding will surely run bankrupt. For the past three months, we close the bush in order to appropriate and know the number of people that operate at the mining site. That is why we requested them to come for biometric so as to know their number. We were able to register about 6,000 miners within one and a half month”.
Ajilore, however, reiterated that the government would resist all forms of illegal mining in the state, affirming that “we will go all out to bring perpetrators to book in a bid to sanitise the system”
In his remark, Osun State Commandant of the NSCDC Mr Aboluwaye Akinwande said the investigation was still ongoing over the matter, assuring that anyone found culpable will be charged to court.
“Our next action is to conduct a preliminary investigation, then ensure we follow it up before charging them to court”, he explained.