Oyetola inaugurates committee to tackle illegal mining, environmental degradation in Osun
By Timothy Agbor, Osogbo
The Governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola yesterday inaugurated Osun Minerals Regulations and Environmental Management Committee (MIRECO) to address environmental degradation and activities of illegal miners in the state.
At the inauguration held in the Exco Lounge on Wednesday, Oyetola said the committee became necessary following the desire of his administration to lift the state out of economic misery, re-define and shore up the socioeconomic life of Osun.
While bemoaning the insecurities, land degradation, pollution and social unrest that activities of both licenced and illegal miners in the gold rich areas of the state, the Governor said the inauguration of Osun MIREMCO is a step towards sanitising the State’s resource climate and resolving the extant challenges being faced on the mining sites and the affected communities.
“As a government, we are resolved to erect a solid structure for driving our resource-blessed State, delivering resource boom and avoiding resource curse.
“The appointment and inauguration of this Committee are in line with the Nigeria Minerals and Mining Act 2007, which empowers the Committee to oversee the regulation of the entire mining operations in the State and to discuss and advise the Minister of Solid Minerals
on matters affecting encroachment, trespass, security, social unrest, pollution and environmental degradation of any land on which any mineral is being extracted as it relates to all licence holders within the State.
“The inauguration of the Osun MIREMCO is a step towards sanitising the State’s resource climate and resolving the extant challenges being faced on the mining sites and the affected communities.
“In achieving these tasks and ultimately setting Osun on the path of effective resource management, we have assembled men and women of character, relevant skills and experience. Without any doubt whatsoever, the tasks before you as members of this Committee are onerous and sensitive as they are related to the security and welfare of Osun people, which the 1999 Constitution says are the primary purpose of Government.
“As the eyes and the ears of government, I charge you to carry out your responsibilities, which is a call to duty, with the highest sense of purpose, responsibility and efficiency. I implore you as experienced professionals and elders, to employ peace management, conflict resolution and diplomatic skills and competencies to manage the thorny issues arising from mineral exploitation.
“You must sustain the standard set by our administration during the town hall meetings with miners and community people to maintain peaceful coexistence.
“While we recognise that the exploration and exploitation of solid minerals are on the Exclusive Legislative list of the Federal Government, we must also note that we have been faced with the excruciating challenge of environmental degradation arising from lack of environmental and ecological literacy on the part of the local communities coupled with irresponsible and unprofessional mining by both licensed and illegal miners. The starting point for remediating this situation is for you to educate and sensitise the people on ecological literacy through town hall and media interventions.
“Most recently, the Osun river has been polluted with heavy metals and other contaminants thereby threatening our investments in the water sector. Our land is also littered with an array of abandoned mining sites that require de commissioning and reclamation.
“I hereby call on this Committee to rise to the occasion. The time to rein in the defaulters and ensure this ugly trend is reversed is now.
“I would also like to take the opportunity to call on the Federal environmental agencies such as NESREA to live up to their duties of enforcing environmental standards and compliance in the mining sector.
“The people of Osun look up to the members of this Committee to transform their challenges to fortune and to put their State on the map as the first State to get resource management right in the nation and on the continent,” Oyetola said.