By Ayobami Agboola, Osogbo
The Governor of Osun state, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, on Wednesday expressed displeasure over the level of environmental degradation caused by illegal mining activities in some part of the state.
Oyetola who frown at the level of environmental hazard posed by illegal mining said that mining activities will henceforth be regulated in the state.
He spoke after seeing the level of environmental degradation caused by unregulated mining activities going on in many parts the state.
The governor was at Ifewara in Atakunmosa West local government, to see a huge landscape that has been degraded by illegal miners.
He was also at Ibodi in the same local government.
The form of regulation will soon be decided, the governor said.
Oyetola told reporters after a tour of the illegal mining sites: “I am here to see things for myself. It is unfortunate that our land is being damaged and farming activity has been destroyed. With what I have seen, one cannot do farming here again because the land has been seriously damaged.
“The grievous damage is the fact that the entire land space had been totally destroyed which hitherto could have been used for agricultural purposes and socio-economic development of our state.
“The whole environment has been polluted by dangerous chemicals applied to explore gold. These chemicals are not only dangerous for human being but hazardous to farming.
“Though it is important for us to explore the possibilities in mining, it must not be at the expense of the welfare and health of the people.
“Mining must be done with proper regulation, and in any case what is going here is purely illegal mining, they are destroying everywhere.
“So, I am here to prevent what happened in the Niger Delta from being replicated here. We are not saying people should not do mining, but this has to be regulated.
“Mining is a very sensitive thing. One cannot just do mining, there should be a proper environmental impact assessment report that will guarantee that such exercise will not resort to adverse effect on the livelihood.
“So, what we have done is to see things for ourselves and also to come up with an informed decision.
“We are committed to protecting our community, we are committed to protecting good environment for our people and we will not allow the means of their livelihood to be compromised.
“We are putting our report together because government cannot just take a decision on emotional reaction, but we will ensure all we are doing is in the interest of the people and we will take appropriate action after the visit to all the sites.
“We will sit down and review our report to come up with a law, but we can’t allow this thing to continue, and the action we will take will depend on the perception of the people as regards their interest.
“As a government, it is our responsibility to guarantee the security of lives and property of the citizens while the people’s welfare should be the priority.”
The Adimula of Ifewara, Oba Hezekiah Adeniyi Owolola, implored the state government to accelerate its decision at putting the permanent solution to illegal mining in his area.
The Loja of Ibodi, Oba Omisade Agboluaje, applauded the government for prioritizing the security and welfare of the people.
The monarch condemned illegal mining activities in Ibodi and other parts of the state, calling on the government to find a last solution to the menace.
The Executive Secretary, Ministry of Forest and Mineral Resources, Mr Olukayo Lanlehin, said the ministry would not relent until mining is fully regulated.
He said: “We have being to some of the sites where Chinese miners are working and we are here to see what they are doing. We have attested to the fact that the work they are doing is unregulated, illegal and unofficial.
“So, the purpose of our visit is to see how government can regulate their activities so that the land owners, the community and the state can get better things from it.
“It is unfortunate that the Chinese miners working here didn’t obtain what is required for mining. Osun govenment will not tolerate this because these people have destroyed the land and plantations.
“Unfortunately, these illegal miners are not reclaiming the land. A sustainable way of mining is to reclaim the land so that one can plant but the way they are doing it is not the way to be done”.
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