Three persons were, yesterday, arrested by the Osun state Government for illegal gold mining in Atakumosa West local government area of the state.
The Coordinator, Office of Mineral and Natural Resources, Office of the Governor, Mr. Tunde Ajilore, with combined team of security operatives stormed Itagunmodi and Aruwa communities in Atakumosa West Local Government area where the illegal gold miners carried out their activities without recourse to government interest.
The illegal gold mining site in Itagunmodi was said to have been operated by Chinese nationals, while the other one at Aruwa village is being operated illegally by one Alhaji Aruna who has his base in Ile-Ife.
No one was met at the site being operated by the Chinese, but scores of labourers engaged by Alhaji Aruna at the site in Aruwa were seen mining illegally.
They, however, took to their heels at the sight of security operatives and officials from the office of Mineral and Natural Resources but three of them were arrested.
An old man, Akinola Samuel whose age could not allow him to run away was arrested at the site to join two other labourers, Mutari Lemo and Abdulahi Ashimu, who were caught earlier on the way to the site.
It was observed that the sites visited by the team at Itagunmodi and Aruwa had suffered massive degradation as a result of prolonged illegal mining operations in the place.
Addressing journalists shortly after the raid, Ajilore said that the state government has vowed to bring perpetrators of the illegal mining to book in a bid to sanitise the system.
According to him, the sites belong to the state government of Osun, of which it pays over N50 milllion as royalty to the Federal Government every year.
While describing the damage done to the site as too enormous, Ajilore said the activities of the miners amount to economic sabotage, warning that the state government will not fold its arms and allow the situation to continue unchecked.
His words: “These illegal miners have done a lot of damages on the mining titles that belong to the state of Osun without taking permission or paying anything to the state government. On these titles, the state government pays royalty of over N50 million to the Federal Government yearly and we will not fold our arms to allow the illegal miners to destroy our properties.
“The efforts of the state government are geared towards protecting our mineral resources and make it an IGR-based. As such, we are putting up an arrangement to have investors to invest on the minerals, but before that, we want to ensure that we sanitise the system”, Ajilore said.
Ajilore who thereafter gathered the people of Aruwa community took time to enlighten them on the inherent danger of the illegal activities of the miners, said that it has an adverse ecological and socio-economic effect on the people of the area in one hand and government in another hand.
Speaking, some of the residents in Aruwa communities, Lawrence Aluko, Sunday Oladele, and Chief Looyin Alaba expressed their readiness to support the government to end illegal mining in the area.
Also condemning the illegal activities of the miners, the Atagunmodi of Itagunmodi, Oba Famade Kosile stated that he was sometimes informed that over 2,000 labourers hired by the miners are all over the place, adding he will never support any illegal activity.
However, the sites have been declared sealed and placed under surveillance immediately after the raid which, Ajilore said will be taking place from time to time.