Governor Adegboyega Oyetola has declared that mining activities will henceforth be regulated in Osun State.
He spoke after seeing the level of environmental degradation caused by unregulated mining activities going on in many parts of the state.
The governor was at Ifewara in Atakunmosa West Local Government to see a huge landscape that has been degraded by illegal miners. He was also at Ibodi in the same local government.
According to the governor, the form of regulation will soon be decided.
Oyetola told reporters after a tour of the illegal mining sites: “I am here to see things for myself. It is unfortunate that our land is being damaged and farming activity has been destroyed. With what I have seen, one cannot do farming here again because the land has been seriously damaged.
“The grievous damage is the fact that the entire land space had been totally destroyed which hitherto could have been used for agricultural purposes and socio-economic development of our state.
“The whole environment has been polluted by dangerous chemicals applied to explore gold. These chemicals are not only dangerous for human being, but hazardous to farming.
“Though it is important for us to explore the possibilities in mining, it must not be at the expense of the welfare and health of the people.”
He added: “Mining must be done with proper regulation, and in any case, what is going on here is purely illegal mining; they are destroying everywhere.
“So, I am here to prevent what happened in the Niger Delta from being replicated here. We are not saying people should not do mining, but this has to be regulated.
“Mining is a very sensitive thing. One cannot just do mining; there should be a proper environmental impact assessment report that will guarantee that such exercise will not resort to adverse effect on the livelihood.
“So, what we have done is to see things for ourselves and also to come up with an informed decision.
“We are committed to protecting our community, we are committed to protecting good environment for our people and we will not allow the means of their livelihood to be compromised.”
The governor said his administration is putting reports together “because government cannot just take a decision on emotional reaction”.
He added his administration would put the interest of the people first and also take appropriate action after the visit to all the sites.
“We will sit down and review our report to come up with a law, but we can’t allow this thing to continue, and the action we will take will depend on the perception of the people as regards their interest.
“As a government, it is our responsibility to guarantee the security of lives and property of the citizens while the people’s welfare should be the priority.”
Adimula of Ifewara Oba Hezekiah Adeniyi Owolola implored the state government to accelerate its decision at putting the permanent solution to illegal mining in his area.
The Loja of Ibodi, Oba Omisade Agboluaje, applauded the government for prioritising the security and welfare of the people.