Reps probe activities of miners in Ijeshaland, Osun State

• Indigenes are forcefully displaced, dispossessed of their ancestral lands – Hon. Ayeni

The House of Representatives on Wednesday unveiled plans to curb the activities of unlicensed miners operating across Ijeshaland in Osun State.

The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Police Affairs, Hon. Lawrence Babatunde Ayeni, who expressed grave concern over the displacement of the citizens.

In the bid to address the issue, the House mandated its Committee on Solid Mineral Development to authenticate the list of authorized and licensed miners in the affected areas.

In his lead debate, Hon. Ayeni who solicited for the House intervention observed that the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act was passed into law on March 16, 2007, to regulate the exploration and exploitation of solid minerals in Nigeria.

“The House also notes that the Act vests the control of all properties and minerals in Nigeria in the State and prohibits unauthorized exploration or exploitation of minerals.

“The House observes that under the Land Use Act, all lands in which minerals have been found in commercial quantities are acquired by the Federal Government and that any property with mineral resources shall pass from the Government to the person by whom the mineral resources are lawfully won, upon their recovery.

“The House is concerned about reported cases of illegal mining activities going on in Ijesha South Federal Constituency of Osun State.

“The House is aware that llesa, which is part of Ijeshaland, is known to have large deposits of gold in commercial quantities and other minerals in considerable proportions.

“The House is worried that over the past few years, certain individuals and unverified companies have embarked on exploration activities across Ijeshaland, and their activities have caused untold hardship to the villagers who have been forcefully displaced and dispossessed of their lands by the miners.

“The House is also worried that the excavation of the area may expose the people to environmental hazards/natural disasters such as landslides, earthquakes, erosion, formation of sinkholes, loss of biodiversity and contamination of soil, groundwater and surface water by chemicals released during the mining processes.

“The House is disturbed that if necessary measures are not put in place to check illegal mining, it may result in the breakdown of law and order as the original inhabitants of Ijeshaland who are being deprived access to their heritages may embark on self-help to recover their lands,” Hon Ayeni noted.

To this end, the House mandated its Committee on Solid Minerals Development to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to ascertain the authorized and licensed miners within Ijesha South Federal Constituency and report back within 6 weeks for further legislative action.

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