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Osun arrests 17 Chinese illegal miners

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The Osun State Joint Task Force (JTF), recently inaugurated by Governor Adegboyega Oyetola has arrested 27 illegal miners, constituting 17 Chinese nationals with 10 indigenes and a local traditional chief (Baale) around Ilesa and Ife axis of the State.

Deputy Chief of Staff to the State Governor, Abdullahi Binuyo, said that no responsible government will feign ignorance and watch its land being degraded by unauthorized persons.
He noted threats posed by these illegal miners from causing economic leakages to pollution of the Osun River with poisonous metals, which in turn makes it unsafe for human consumption and irrigation.

Binuyo added that not only will the arrested be prosecuted, but will also be made to pay compensation. As they have also flouted the Government’s COVID-19 ‘stay at home order’, poisoned the Osun river which poses a major public health risk.

In his statement, he said part of the government’s economic reforms, a solid mineral is a major sector we are looking to explore. Hence, it has become imperative on the reforms to stop illegal mining and step up enforcement activities, for the success of the reform.
The result is what we are witnessing today.

He further disclosed that the arrested people neither have genuine mining licences nor are they registered with the government, as what they claim to have is Exploration Licences, which gives them no authority to mine like they were.

One of the culprits, May Zam who was the only one that could speak passable English among the Chinese, claimed that she was not aware they were engaged in illegal mining. She said she worked for different companies, saying she believed they should have mining licences.

She further claimed that the current company she works for, which she failed to name, has a Nigerian sponsor.

Reported by: Fatimah Oyesanmi

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