By Ismaeel Uthman
Governor of the State of Osun, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola has explained the rationale behind the state government’s actions against illegal miners, saying that the state needs to stamp out illegal mining activities to pave way for the development of her economy.
Oyetola said the state government was not interested in witch-hunting anyone, rather, it wants to regulate mining activities within the state.
The Governor, who spoke at the last State Executive Council meeting said: “If we do not sanitize the sector and take out illegal miners, we may end up like other countries which are now dealing with the negative consequences and concepts of illegal trade of natural resources like ‘blood diamond’.
“We are determined to weed out illegal and inimical elements, and out to stop negative implications such as environmental degradation in the state.”
The state government had been clamping down on illegal miners in the state and no fewer than 38 illegal miners of Chinese and Ghanaian nationality have been arrested by the government’s Joint Task Force.
According to a press statement issued by the state’s Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mrs. Funke Egbemode, the state government was putting plans in place to diversify its economy into agriculture and mining as part of its post-COVID-19 economic revival strategies.
Egbemode stated that the government with the help of the Central Bank of Nigeria was ready to empower 5,764 farmers to grow cassava, cotton and engage in fish farming.
According to her, about 2000 hectares of land have been earmarked in 12 local government areas, in addition to the existing farm settlements across the state.