- PUNCH LINE
The State of Osun will in no distant time be free from the scourge of illegal mining. This is because efforts geared towards eradicating the menace that costs both government and the public is by the day yielding positive results.
Findings reveal that the government with several interventions has restored sanity into the process of exploring mineral resources in the state, curbed environmental degradation and importantly increase the state’s Internally Generated Revenue.
In the new initiative revealed over the weekend, the state government of Osun through Chams Plc, a leading technology company said it has taken biometric details of over 5,000 artisanal miners in several mining communities across the state.
The Osun government said with about 5,000 miners now registered biometrically with the state, adequate security can now be guaranteed around mining host communities.
According to the government, the registration, though continuous, has given the state adequate database structure that will create opportunities for artisanal miners, saying with the database, Government will organize the artisanal miners into Cooperatives for empowerment.
Speaking to journalists, some residents of the State lauded government for the initiative in curbing the activities of illegal miners which causes havoc to the environment.
They held that the new procedure will make government’s mining inspectors to be of immense help to the miners as well as the communities involved to ensure both parties benefit from the process.
In the past years, the sector has experienced all sort of uncoordinated activities as many illegal miners operate without government regulation.
This was why government employed services of mining expert with the aim of bringing sanity into the sector believed to have been neglected.
Speaking with newsmen, Special Adviser to the Governor on Forestry, Natural and Mineral Resources, Mr. Babatunde Ajilore, flanked by the Project Manager, Dr Abiodun Oladipo said that the government had painstakingly restored orderliness and put in place proper regulatory measure to curb illegal mining in the state.
He said government’s effort to know those behind mining activities in the state was borne out of its determination to protect lives and property of the residents against environmental degradation and as well raise revenue bar of the state.
“The governor initiative on precious stones which gold is one of them started in May, 2017 and it is targeted at organising the activities of the miners. There has been a lot of chaos regarding environmental degradation and a lot of security concerns but we have painstakingly taken rigorous actions to curb lawlessness.
“We are able to identify the dealers, agents and labourers. All our approaches are done in a sustainable manner so that the environment is protected and future generation can benefit from the legacy,” Ajilore said.
“We have met with the agents who are numerous in number because there are reports that many of these people come from West African nations to mine the gold.
He noted that the State has written to the federal government to create a synergy and invoke the mining Act 2017, to foster better understanding between local, state and federal governments.
“We have gotten the approval from the federal government to enact this and the State of Osun governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has inaugurated the committee which is called Mineral Resources Management Committee (MIREMCO).
The committee comprises of the Federal mining officer, representative of Federal Ministry of Environment and other major stakeholders in the state.