Chinese nationals and a local head has been arrested in Osun State over illegal mining activities by the state Joint Task Force (JTF)
It will be recalled that the state governor under the leadership of Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola recently inaugurated Joint Task Force in the state.
The officers of the Joint Task Force made the arrest of the suspects including nine locals, a Baale (community head) whose identity was yet to be disclosed and 17 Chinese following a coordinated sting operation around Ilesa and Ife axis of Osun state.
The Deputy Chief of Staff to the governor, Mr. Abdullahi Binuyo, who express satisfaction on the operation of the state Joint Task Force said no responsible government will fold it arms and watch its land being degraded by unauthorized persons.
He expressed that aside from the negative economic impact that these illegal mining activities in the state has brought to all, the illegal miners have also caused water pollution dues to poisonous metals making it unsafe for human consumption and other useful purposes.
Mr. Abdullahi Binuyo maintained that aside from due prosecution of the suspects, they will also pay compensation.
He said: “As part of the government’s economic reforms, solid mineral is a major sector we are looking to explore. For these reforms to work, it has become imperative on the reforms to stop illegal mining and step up enforcement activities. The result is what we are witnessing today.
“The people you see here neither have genuine mining licenses nor are they registered with the government. What they claim to have is exploration licenses, which does not allow them to mine, the way they are doing. So we will be prosecuting them and make them pay damages.
“Apart from flouting government’s Covid-19 order, by refusing to stay at home, they have created environmental disaster for us, by poisoning our River which is a major public health
According to one of the Chinese nationals who was also a suspect, she maintained that she was unaware of the activities to be illegal as she works for different companies which she believes would have gotten their mining licenses.
May Zam, who can barely speak passable English, said she works for different companies said she is current working for company that has a Nigerian sponsor but did not disclose the name of the company.