Hard times await illegal gold miners in the State of Osun as the state government has begun to lay siege to their activities across the state, as three persons were last Wednesday arrested for illegal mining.
Led by Coordinator, Office of Minerals and Natural Resources, Office of the Governor, Mr Tunde Ajilore, a combined-team of security operatives stormed Itagunmodi and Aruwa communities in Atakumosa-West Local Government Council Area, where the illegal gold miners were carrying out their activities without recourse to government interest.
The illegal gold mining site in Itagunmodi was said to have been operated by a group of Chinese, while the other one at Aruwa village is being allegedly operated illegally by one Alhaji Haruna, who has his base in Ile-Ife.
While no one was met at the site being operated by the Chinese, scores of labourers allegedly engaged by Alhaji Haruna at the site at Aruwa were met on the site mining illegally, but immediately took to their heels at the sight of security operatives and officials from the office of Mineral and Natural Resources.
An old man, Akinola Samuel, whose age could not allow him to run away, was arrested on the site to join two other labourers, Mutari Lemo and Abdulahi Ashimu who were caught earlier on the way to the site.
It was observed that the sites visited by the team at Itagunmodi and Aruwa have been dug beyond normal, as deep pits were sighted all over the place.
Addressing journalists shortly after the raid, Ajilore stated that the state government has vowed to bring perpetrators of the illegal mining to book, in a bid to sanitise the system.
According to him, the sites belong to the state government of Osun, of which it pays over N50 million as royalty to the Federal Government every year.
While describing the damage done to the site as too enormous, Ajilore said, the activities of the illegal miners amounted to economic sabotage, warning that the state government will not fold its arms and allow the situation to continue unchecked.
“These illegal miners have done a lot of damage to the mining titles that belong to the State of Osun without taking permission or paying anything to the state government.
“On these titles, the state government pays royalty of over N50 million to the Federal Government yearly and we will not fold our arms to allow the illegal miners to destroy our properties.
“The effort of the state government is geared towards protecting our mineral resources and makes it an IGR-based. As such, we are putting up an arrangement to invite investors to invest on the minerals, but before that, we want to ensure that we sanitise the system”, Ajilore said.
Ajilore, who thereafter gathered the people of Aruwa community and took time to enlighten them on the inherent danger of the illegal activities of the miners, stated that it has an adverse ecological and socio-economic effect on the people of the area on one hand and the government on the other.
Some of the residents of Aruwa community, Lawrence Aluko, Sunday Oladele and Chief Looyin Alaba, expressed their readiness to support the government to end illegal mining in the area.
Also condemning the illegal activities of the miners, the Atagunmodi of Itagunmodi, Oba Famade Kosile, who stated that he was sometimes informed that over 2,000 labourers hired by the miners are all over the place, said he would never support any illegal activity.
However, the sites have been declared sealed and placed under surveillance immediately after the raid which, Ajilore said will be taking place from time to time.