FG suspends mining activities within OAU, others

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The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake, has directed an indefinite suspension of mining activities at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital and environs, pending the conclusion of investigations into suspected illegal mining.

The minister disclosed this in his office on Tuesday, after a meeting with OAU Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Adebayo Bamire and the Chief Medical Director of OAUTHC,  Prof. John Okeniyi at the ministry headquarters in Abuja.

The minister in a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media, Segun Tomori, said the ban followed several complaints by students and residents on the activities of illegal Miners affecting economic activities in the area.

According to Alake, the ministry immediately swung into action to ascertain the veracity of the allegations sequel to reports in certain sections of the media about the nefarious activities of the illegal miners who selfishly feast and thrive on Nigeria’s commonwealth.

Recall that several reports had emerged calling for investigations into the alarming reports of illegal mining activities within the OAU premises.

It said that unregulated mining operations have caused devastating impacts on the environment.

The statement read, “Following the outcry generated by reports of illegal mining or suspicion of nefarious activities by mining operators within OAU, we immediately deployed officials of the Nigeria Geological Survey Agency and Mines Inspectorate for on-the-spot assessment.

“Preliminary reports that reached me indicated that there were indeed some activities around the premises. The ministry then stopped all activities, whether legal or illegal, for further investigations, “the Minister asserted.

Speaking further, Alake revealed that upon summoning some operators discovered to be carrying out illegal activities, they presented some licenses and letters of consent which necessitated further investigations to ascertain its authenticity, hence the imperative of inviting the university authorities for a parley.

“We have had a very fruitful meeting, and a lot of facts have come out of it. Based on the outcome of the meeting, I announce the indefinite suspension, with immediate effect, of all mining activities within the premises of the University, the University teaching hospital and in fact around the area and boundaries of the university, until the conclusion of thorough investigations”, the Minister added.

In his submission, Prof Bamire expressed gratitude to the Minister for the audience, highlighting the capacity of the university to play an active role in exploration, research, and other sectors of the mining value chain.

“We have some of the best geologists and mining professionals in the country. We feel that we need to set up a sort of excellent research and training facility on mineral resources within the university.  If we can get that in the university, it will help us, support the university community, the state, and ultimately contribute to the development of the mining sector, “he added.

The Vice-chancellor also hinted at the university’s application for an exploration license, expressing optimism that with the anticipated approval, the University will be able to carry out exploration and discover the distribution and quality of mineral resources within the university environs and across the country.

On the Vice-Chancellor’s entourage were Registrar, Kamarudeen Bakare; Head of Department of Geology & Geophysics, Prof. Olatokunbo Alao; Director, Physical Planning, Dr. Anthony Owolabi; Director, Maintenance Services, Engr. Olawuyi Isaac while the Chief Medical Director of OAU Teaching Hospital, Prof. John Okeniyi joined the meeting virtually.

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