ARTISANAL miners have continued to operate at their various mining sites in Ijesaland in total disregard to the State Government’s directive, investigations have revealed.
The miners, it was noted, have refused to leave their various mining communities, just as they continued to extract minerals in the settlements of Ilesa and its environs two months after Governor Ademola Adeleke shut down all mining activities in the state.
Investigations revealed that the artisanal miners who are majorly northerners did not for a day ceased from mining activities in communities like Ibodi, Itagunmodi, Ere-Ijesa, Idominasi, Osu, Iperindo and Ifewara.
However, OSUN DEFENDER noted that mining companies which were licensed by the state government, had stopped their operations since Adeleke shut down operations on mining sites on January 12, 2023.
But the artisanal miners, it was noted, have continued their operations, though with carefulness.
The medium was at Itagunmodi last weekend to monitor the level of compliance by the miners. It was observed that the level of compliance in the area was low as the local miners were sighted with their mining tools by the roadside.
It was noted that the artisanal miners were carrying tools like diggers, shovels and iron buckets.
Some of the artisanal miners were also sighted on motorcycles and tricycles coming back from their mining sites.
The medium also noted that there was no presence of any security operative in the community.
While driving down to Ilesa, the medium observed that there were fresh mining spots close to the roadside after Kajola, around Ora river.
The medium also sighted artisanal miners with the tools coming from the bush, obviously from mining sites.
Mr. Samuel Akinwale, an Iperindo resident, told OSUN DEFENDER in a telephone interview yesterday that the artisanal miners did not comply with the government’s directive.
Akinwale said the local miners have continued to mine without the fear of being arrested by any security agent.
Speaking with the medium on Monday, a resident of Osun, Mr Idowu Fadele, confirmed that the artisanal miners have continued to operate at their various mining sites in the community.
Fadele said the artisanal miners do leave their various home between 5am and 7am to embark on their mining operations and return late in the evening.
He said: “The local miners did not respect the directive of the state government; they have continued to operate without any fear. They have continued to degrade our land and environment. We were happy when the government ordered that all mining activities should be suspended in Osun, because our farmlands have been destroyed by these miners.
“But in spite of the government directives, some of these miners have continue to mine on our lands. They leave home between 5am and 7am with their tools. These people are not complying with the government directive.”
OSUN DEFENDER who was took round some areas at Idominasi, Obokun Local Government of the state, also sighted fresh mining spots of large hole left uncovered by the artisanal miners.
A farmer in the town, Enoch Abimbola said the directive of the government on the suspension of mining activities did not hold any effect on the artisanal miners.
Abimbola who was full of emotion while speaking with the medium said the local miners have continued to destroy their farmlands, with total disregard to the government’s directive.
Confirming the report, the Advocacy Coordinator of Ijesa Mineral Resources Development Forum, Mr. Wale Idowu, said the artisanal miners have continued to operate in the mining zones.
According to Idowu, large scale mining in the zone has stopped immediately the governor announced the suspension of mining activities, noting that only the local miners have refused to comply with the directive.
He stated the criminal activities, human and vehicular movement have reduced in the mining zones since the suspension of the mining activities.
Idowu said: “We are all aware that Mr. Governor gave a suspending order of mining activities in Ijesaland and beyond. When you look at the compliance level, you cannot categorically say that we recorded 100 percent compliance.
“What we are experiencing now has to do with the scavengers and artisanal mining. We still have some of these happening around particularly when you drive towards Ilesa/Osogbo road, you will find them at an area called Oora stream.
Mining activities are also going on in the hinterlands. Let me mention specifically that mining activities are going on at a place we call Morocco, along Okebode, Atakumosa West LG. So, you can see there is no total compliance.
“But the large-scale miners are complying, except for Segilola which is an explorer with their own license obtained from Abuja.”
“Even with the suspension order, we are far from being satisfied because the impact of those who were suspended are still all over the place by way of the environmental hazard that they created and the land degradation.
“You will find out that up till now, issues on the mining sites were left unattended to, the lands were not reclaimed; that is not an ideal situation.
“We are not keeping quit at our end. You will also recall that in 2020, we went all over the place, particularly all the mining sites as well as all communities in Ijesaland. We met and engaged with all the stakeholders and we repeated the same exercise in 2021.
“This, we did not do in 2022 because we spent last year to assess impact. But this year again, we are into another dimension. We are creating what we called, Local Government Consultative Committees. We want to set up committees that will be so empowered and can engage prospective miners.”
Asked if the group had informed the government about the noncompliance of the artisanal miners, Idowu said: “At the resumption of the new government in the state, we wrote to congratulate the governor and to also intimate him about our activities. We sort audience with him in order to unfold our activities but up till now, we have not receive their response to our request.
“We are looking forward to come into collaboration so that together, we can address the menace of illegal mining and then look at areas where we can record win-win situation for all the stakeholders.
“We are aware that government needs money and the communities must also be compensated because the resources are God given and when you are mining such resources, the inhabitants must have good dividends.”
Idowu disclosed that criminal activities have reduced since the suspension of the mining activities.
He said: “It is obvious that since the suspension of the mining activities, there has been noticeable reduction in the level of criminal activities, particularly, in the mining zones because the suspension also resulted to lower traffic of people going to mining sites.
“There are some areas, when you go today, you will find out that the traffic is not as what was obtained some months back. The artisanal miners set out in hundreds as early as 5am on motorcycles and tricycles but that has not been the case for now.
“You will agree that with such high traffic comes criminal activities; but in all honesty, there has been a reduction in criminal activities since the suspension order.”