July 10, 2024

FG seals mining company over illegal activities in Ogun

FG seals mining company over illegal activities in Ogun

By James Ogunnaike, Abeokuta

Federal Government has sealed a sand dredging and mining company, operating in Ilate-Etido Community in Obafemi/Owode local government area of Ogun State, over illegal mining activities.

The company, operating under the name of Ojibas Nigeria Limited and owned by a businessman from Osun State, was sealed on Tuesday by officers from the Mining Inspectorate Department, Federal Ministry of Solid Minerals and Development, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

Vanguard reliably gathered that the operating license of the mining company dredging laterite and sand in the community, had been revoked by the Nigeria Mining Cadastral Office, Abuja, since August 12, 2022.

It was also gathered that despite the revocation of the mining license which was published in the official gazette of NMCO, Abuja, the company continued to carry on illegal mining activities, using policemen and soldiers as security covers.

Meanwhile, a combined team of soldiers from the 35 Artillery Brigade, Alamala, Abeokuta and police operatives from Zone 2 Command of the Nigeria Police Force, Onikan, Lagos, however, had on May 28, 2024 stormed the company and arrested the suspected illegal miners at a dredging site.

The security team also arrested some policemen and soldiers providing cover for the illegal miners headed by a Chinese national and whisked them to Onikan for interrogations.

Scores of residents of the host community had before then staged a protest against the company, lamenting negative and destructive impacts of the illegal dredging of sand in the area, which according to them, had affected their farmlands, environment and their sources of living.

Speaking on the sealing of the mining company, on Wednesday, the Community Head of Ilate-Etido community, Chief Shamsideen Ajibawo, commended the Federal Government for slamming the ‘stop work order’ on the company which was operating illegally in the community.

He said the community will now experience a huge relief with the sealing action, adding that the mining company, apart from engaging in unauthorized activities, it had caused serious environmental degradation to the Ilate-Etido community.

“I personally wrote series of letters to the Federal Ministry of Solid Minerals, Cadastral Mining office, Office of the General of Police, Chief of Naval Staff and Ministry of Mines, Ogun State over the activities of these illegal miners.

“I also discovered when I went to Abuja that the company’s operating licence had been revoked, but the promoter of the company refused to leave the community, boasting that he had acquired all the land in Ilate-Etido and that the indigenes should vacate the land for him. The whole community was however thrown in jubilation as the combined soldiers from the 35 Artillery Brigade, Alamala, Abeokuta and police operatives from the Zone 2 Police Command, Onikan, came to arrest the illegal miners and armed police they used to intimidate my people.

“With this latest development by the Federal Mining Office, Abuja, our people will be happy with the sealing of the illegal mining company as the company took them through hell”, Ajibawo stated.