BY JOSHUA DADA, OSOGBO
Communities in the Atakumosa West local government area of Osun State have raised the alarm over the devastating activities of illegal miners on their land.
The communities that include, Epe, Igbadae, Igun, Itagunmodi among others expressed dismay at the levels of incursion and vandalism of their farmland by illegal miners.
The communities through their traditional rulers appealed to the Special Adviser to Governor Rauf Aregbesola on Forestry, Natural and Mineral Resources, Tunde Ajilore, who led a raid of illegal miners to the area to help curb the nefarious activities of the miners.
Meanwhile, no fewer than fifteen illegal miners were arrested while hundreds flee during the raid just as Government warned perpetrators to desist or be ready to face the full wrath of the law.
Ajilore who issued the warning said the practice constitute a huge menace to the farm lands, forest reserves as well as cocoa plantations and vegetations of communities where the activities are carried out by illegal miners.
Ajilore lamented that hundreds of illegal miners had taken over several hectares of cocoa farms and plantations in the areas and other parts of the state in search of gold and other mineral resources.
He noted that the miner had been making cheap money from the illicit practice with impunity and without government licence.
Ajilore who led officers of security agencies, including soldiers, police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps to raid them yesterday, warned perpetrators to desist from the act or risk arrest and prosecution.
Over 200 illegal miners scampered to safety, leaving their work tools such as pumping machines, pans, shovels, cutlasses, jiggers behind during the raid.
Ajilore also warned culprits identified as pirates who were alleged to have contracted the miners to engage in the deal, to stop the act or be ready to face the wrath of the law.
He disclosed that government had placed a ban on mining activities in the state till further notice.
Ajilore and his entourage which included government officials and security agencies visited leaders of the communities which have been the operational bases of the mining activities to register government’s grievances.
He charged them to call the illegal miners to order and ensure immediate relocation of the miners.
The traditional ruler of Igbadae community, Oba Olaosebikan Olanrewaju, however, alleged that government agencies had been collecting Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) tickets from the miners and their contractors.