A Joint task force recently inaugurated by the Osun State Government, has arrested 27 persons for illegal mining in the state.
The 27 persons who were arrested in a coordinated sting operation around Ilesa and Ife axis of the state include 17 Chinese, 9 locals as well as the traditional chief (Bale) of a community in the state.
Mr Abdullahi Binuyo, the Deputy Chief of Staff to Gov. Gboyega Oyetola confirmed the arrest in Osogbo on Sunday May 3. He said the suspects will be prosecuted and made to pay damages.
“Aside the economic leakages, the illegal miners have also polluted the Osun River with poisonous metals, thereby making it unsafe for human consumption and irrigation.
“We intend to prosecute them and also make sure they pay compensation.
“As part of government’s economic reforms, solid mineral is a major sector we are exploring. For these reforms to work, it has become imperative to stop illegal mining and step up enforcement activities. The result is what we are witnessing today.
“These people neither have genuine mining licences nor are they registered with the government.
“What they claim to have is Exploration Licences; that does not permit them to mine the way they are doing.
“So, we will prosecute them and make them pay damages.
“Apart from flouting government’s order to stay at home so as to contain the spread of COVID-19, they have created environmental disaster for us by poisoning our river which is a major public health concern.”