Faced with persistent degradation of the environment, the Osun State Government has declared war on illegal miners in the state.
The new resolve was disclosed today in a statement today by Mrs. Funke Egbemode, the state Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation.
According to her, despite all the achievements recorded in the mining sector by the government, the state continues to deal with the scourge of illicit and irresponsible mining, which is causing the pollution of the Osun River.
She said the government has since deployed its limited enforcement resources to curbing illegal and informal mining in order to arrest the destruction of the land and pollution of rivers.
The statement reads in part:
“To date, the enforcement actions have led to the arrest of several individuals for illicit mining, seizures and site closures.
“In addition to the enforcement activities, the state has commissioned studies on the level of pollution and how to remediate it and also sought assistance from the Federal Government, as well as development partners, including from the Ecological Fund, to remediate the damage.
“Osun will continue its enforcement and its efforts to remediate. However, Osun’s scope for action is constrained by constitutional limits where Federal Government exercises exclusive jurisdiction over mining.
“The government, therefore, welcomes the international community as it lends it voice to the scourge of pollution on our most prized heritage. We hope that by coming to Osun and shining the spotlight on this problem, they bring with them the support the state and the affected communities have been advocating for to remedy this.
“Osun looks forward to engaging with partners and further harp on the continuous support of the Federal Ministry of Mines and Solid Minerals Development in jointly addressing this problem in sustainable ways.
“Osun State government is worried and deeply concerned about the flagrant abuse of its environment by illegal miners who are daily degrading and polluting the Osun River. In spite of efforts to curb the excesses of these fly-by-night businessmen, they have consistently resisted guidance and refused to follow approved standards for mining in Osun.
“It has, therefore, become imperative to serve them the last warning here and now. The state will no longer fold its hands while these miners (both legal and illegal) throw caution to the winds and ruin one of our heritage sites.
“Osun River is not just a geographical landmark. It is one of the few accredited UNESCO sites in Nigeria. It is our heritage; one we will do everything to protect and preserve.”