Osun State government will register all miners operating in the state, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola said on Tuesday.
Besides, he said serious steps are to be taken to prevent security lapses linked to some of the criminals who are operating as illegal miners in the state.
These were the highlights of an Ife-Ijesa zonal security sensitisation meeting held on Tuesday in Ilesa. The zone is where the vast gold deposit in the state is located.
Among other who attended the meeting with the governor were the Deputy Governor Benedict Alabi, wife of the Governor Mrs. Kafayat Oyetola, top government functionaries, traditional rulers led by Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, and Owa Obokun of Ijesaland, Oba Adekunle Aromolaran, heads of security agencies in the state, leadership of artisanal miners and community leaders. They sought the people’s cooperation in the fight against illegal mining, kidnapping, banditry and other vices in the state.
They appealed to residents to report any strange development in their domains for appropriate legal actions.
According to the governor, “The activities of illegal mining vendors, if not checked, will shatter the safety, security and peace of our people as they are capable of engaging in untoward behaviours. Already, there is an upsurge in criminal activities in this area.
Adding,”We have of recent been battling with kidnaping, harassment of people, and indiscriminate shootings on the highway, all traceable to the nefarious activities of some of these illegal miners.
“Should these high level crimes continue, government will be forced to take a drastic action, which will include but not limited to a total ban on mining activities in this state.
“To prevent the hammer from falling, all hands must be on deck to avoid criminality.
“So, all miners operating in this state must be registered to enable the government keep a record. Community leaders (the Serikis) must play a key role in ensuring that this directive on registration is faithfully carried out. Thereafter, Serikis will be held accountable for acts of crime committed by miners in their area of operation.
“Ensuring that these crimes do not happen requires your collective support and cooperation and those of our people with the government”.
Meanwhile,heads of security agencies – the police, the army, the DSS, Immigration, the prisons, Road Safety, Civil Defence and the NDLEA, have reaffirmed their commitment to securing the state and preventing the influx of criminals posing as miners.
Leaders of the gold mining union also sought for government support to enable them prevent crimes.
A Community leader, Prof. Olu Odeyemi, warned of dire consequences unless drastic measures were taken to stop the rising level of insecurity.
Oba Ogunwusi and Oba Aromolaran urged the government to empower traditional rulers who know their domain and are in a better position to assist in securing their areas.
They called for synergy between the government, people and the security agents as part of efforts to strengthen security and stamp out all forms of criminality in the state.
Governor Oyetola described the security stakeholders’ meeting as sacrosanct, in view of the huge mineral deposits in the zone.
The governor said the elaborate plans the state has for artisanal miners will create wealth and improve the prosperity of the people.
He called on community leaders to support the government in its efforts at ensuring proper registration and data capturing of all miners operating in the state.
Oyetola equally urged community heads to sanitize their domains by ensuring that criminals do not live in their communities.
He warned landlords and landowners to always be vigilant to ensure that houses are not rented to criminals, saying they will be liable where such tenants commit crime and are traced to where they live.
Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr. Abdullah Adeyanju Binuyo, said Osun State would partner with development partners and the federal government, which has picked the state and Kebbi State as pilot of its gold extraction programme, to boost mining and get the benefits for the state and the people.
Oyetola described the meeting, which is the second on insecurity in one month as “a testament to the importance this administration places on the safety and security of our people, adding: “It is our policy to adopt a creative and proactive approach to security and to respond with dispatch when security breaches occur.”